Stories - October 24, 2016
To me it’s like I’m in a dream…
“To me it’s like I’m in a dream on a fantastic island, that is how different I feel.”
Mary Catanzariti dreamed of having a driver licence when she was young but living with disability meant this was never considered an option for her. As an adult, she relied upon community transport and other family members to get her to and from her volunteer work and other appointments. Then Intereach Community Transport linked Mary up with Simone Murphy, a Linker from the Ability Links program that works with people with disability to find out what is important to them, identify their dreams and goals, and help make them possible.
Mary studied for her learner driver test with Simone’s support and encouragement and was able to pass the computer test on her first attempt. Learning to drive was Mary’s next challenge and an understanding and supportive driving instructor helped her build her confidence and skills. All the while, Mary dreamed of owning her own car and after lots of research and advice, she purchased a shiny, new, red car, or her ‘baby’ as she calls it.
Griffith Aged Care Support Services organised a volunteer driver to supervise Mary’s driving so she could build up the 120 hours she needed to sit for her provisional licence. The day of her driver licence test finally arrived and Mary passed it on her first try. “When the instructor told me I had passed I was in shock, I was overjoyed and I was crying at the RTA. It’s a miracle for me to be in the driver’s seat. Head over heels that is how I feel.”
On getting her ‘P plates’, the people who had worked with Mary to achieve her dream threw a party at the Griffith office. “I couldn’t have done this without you all,” she said to the many community members who had volunteered their time to help teach her to drive.
Simone Murphy said the way the community had banded together to provide support was incredible to see. “She was such a determined student and although everyone who helped her did so individually in their own time, they all really worked together to give her this gift. It’s more than just a licence to Mary, it’s the independence to do what she wants.”
Mary’s father passed away and she can now help provide transport for her mother. “To me, I feel like my Dad is watching over me, I feel like he has sent this gift to me to help me move on and I have always had him in the back of my mind while I was learning to drive. To me it’s like I’m in a dream on a fantastic island, that is how different I feel.”