Doug Little (left), president Peter Fergus and vice-president Les Gardner from the Tiaro and District Lions Club hold Ryder Sweetnam, 2, in his new specially designed car seat as dad Darren Sweetnam looks on.
Doug Little (left), president Peter Fergus and vice-president Les Gardner from the Tiaro and District Lions Club hold Ryder Sweetnam, 2, in his new specially designed car seat as dad Darren Sweetnam looks on.

Comfy ride for Ryder

LIFE is a little sweeter now for Ryder Sweetnam and his parents Janene and Darren thanks to a financial boost from the Tiaro community.

Ryder, 2, who has cerebral palsy, epilepsy and is vision impaired, now sits comfortably in the back of mum and dad’s Nissan X-Trail on a seat specially designed for children with disabilities.

The seat was an early Christmas present from the Tiaro and District Lions Club and volunteers at the Tiaro Information Centre. Together they pitched in $5500 for the seat and the Tiaro Craft Group is now raffling a quilt, called Ryder’s Garden, to raise funds for other equipment.

Ms Sweetnam said the new swivel seat had made getting Ryder in and out of the car much easier.

“We’re hoping it will save our backs,” she said. “We’re not getting any younger; Ryder probably won’t walk and we’ve got a long journey ahead.

“It was so humbling to receive a cheque so we could buy a piece of equipment.”

Most equipment for children with disabilities is not covered by the Queensland Health system so families must meet the full cost.

The Sweetnams manage the Tiaro Food Works Centre and have another son, Rhett, 6. When Ryder was diagnosed with cerebral palsy with microcephaly at three months of age, they were devastated.

“It was a real shock,” Ms Sweetnam said. “You don’t really appreciate how much having a child with disabilities affects your life until you experience it.

“The Tiaro community has been fantastic.

“It’s so incredible that these guys do what they do.

“Then there are the volunteers who help look after him and take him once a month for a whole weekend so we can have some quality time with Rhett.

“We’re so grateful."



Thieves spotting easy steals on Fraser Coast

premium_icon Thieves spotting easy steals on Fraser Coast

Since July more than 50 vehicles across the region have been stolen

Cash splash at Coast hotels for school holidays

premium_icon Cash splash at Coast hotels for school holidays

Tourists are seeing what the Fraser Coast has to offer.

Drug driver jailed

premium_icon Drug driver jailed

He tested positive when intercepted by police.

Local Partners