There’s no stopping our Kerry

MAINTAINING her independence, volunteering and spending time with family is what keeps Kerry Kievit smiling.
Diagnosed at 35 with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), the now 59-year-old is grateful for the help she receives from the NDIS to say mobile and active in the New Norfolk community.

Kerry says she knows her MS is slowly taking away her independence, but NDIS funding for a manual wheelchair, a powered wheelchair for outings, a front door ramp and physio and hydro therapies has helped enormously.

“It makes such a difference, not just because I can get around better, but it allows me to conserve my energy to do the fun things in life,” she said. “MS is hard, but being able to remain active and to get out and about is such a good thing.”

Kerry is a keen volunteer, donating her time to support others at MS+ and the Lions Club. At MS+ she facilitates a free online support group for over 65s. “I love it,” she said. “I work with a coordinator, and we help people come to terms with their diagnosis. I also share my personal journey and we provide helpful resources. When you go through something like MS, having people you can talk to who can relate to you and support you in your time of need is really important.”

Kerry Kievit on a Lions Club stall with her friend Jenny Pritchett.

With the Lions Club, Kerry volunteers in many ways and is a past president of the New Norfolk club. “I help out at sausage sizzles, recently I helped cook a Mother’s Day Breakfast and I also sell raffle tickets. All the money we raise goes directly back into the community,” she said. “Volunteering has been so good for me and it’s very rewarding.”

While MS is a daily challenge for Kerry, she said the support she’s received has also helped her to remain happily immersed in her children and grandchildren’s lives. “My daughter Emma is 38, my son Luke is 37, and I have five grandchildren, Zara, Tahlia, Chet, Ava and Lawson. What I love best is still being able to spend quality time with them all. We go for family walks, have family barbecues, and go on lots of fun and interesting excursions. They keep me busy.”

The NDIS is now providing support to more than 649,500 Australians, with more than half receiving supports for the first time. Kerry is one of over 13,900 Tasmanian participants benefitting from the scheme. To find out more, visit ndis.gov.au or call 1800 800 110.

See more Derwent Valley and Central Highlands news online and read our print edition every second Friday.

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