Eight-year-old Bailey Jensen might need a walking frame to stay mobile, but that’s no barrier to prevent him from taking to the football field.
Bailey was born 11 weeks premature and has spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, which affects all four of his limbs.
However, he has been playing soccer with the Yamba Hotspurs since he was six years old. His mother, Trish Verran, pushes him around the field, where he usually plays for around 10 minutes before taking a breather.
“Then he tells the coach when he’s ready to go back on,” Trish says.
“He’s a very lucky boy, who gets to do a lot of things that other kids his age have not yet had the opportunity to do, thanks to the community’s generosity.
“He’s been horse riding, surfing, has been out on yachts and gone whale watching.
“He’s lucky to live in such a supportive community – I’m very grateful for that.”
Next year Bailey will undergo major surgery in March and, to fund the extensive rehabilitation that will be required after the surgery to help him walk again, a public fundraising campaign has been set up at www.gofundme.com/baileyjj.
Trish says she set up the fund because she was “feeling uneasy about going out and [directly] asking the community again”.
“Yamba is very generous and I thought it might be good to not wholly and solely rely on the community, which has given amazing support to my family over time.
“There are so many other people who are deserving of support and it feels like we are always putting our hands out.”
Bailey’s grandmother, Ann Verran, says “Quota International of the Lower Clarence and the Lions Club of Yamba have continued their support”.
“Thank you again for coming to Bailey’s aid,” she says. “Many people, too many to name, have banded together to provide equipment and goods for raffles when it was needed.
“Equipment that Bailey has grown out of has been passed to others, so it is well used. What comes around goes around.”
Bailey has an identical twin, Cooper, who also suffers some congenital abnormalities, for which the community has also given its support.
“Fortunately Cooper doesn’t need equipment,” Trish says, “but he has had a couple of heart surgeries and is deaf in one ear.”
All donations must be made through the website, www.gofundme.com/baileyjj.
To date $6,269 has been raised towards the $51,000 target.