Royal Far West helps bring hope to families

A helping hand: Royal Far West, Ride for Country Kids cyclist Liz Smith, Bathurst, with Charlotte. Photo: Supplied.

A helping hand: Royal Far West, Ride for Country Kids cyclist Liz Smith, Bathurst, with Charlotte. Photo: Supplied.

Raising awareness of Royal Far West and bringing hope to children and parents across the central west is the aim of the Taylor family from Bathurst.

The Taylor’s  – which consist of mother Annette, father, Nathan and daughter Charlotte –  are truly inspiring.

The Bathurst family are so humbled by the work that Royal Far West have done for them in the past year that they hope to shine a light on the children’s charity.

Royal Far West care for country children by providing specialist health services that are not accessible to many children living in rural and remote areas of Australia.

Charlotte, 8, was diagnosed with autism level 1 (formerly known as Asperger’s) as well as as sensory processing disorder and anxiety in March 2017.

For a long time Annette and Nathan were told that they were bad parents and that nothing was wrong with their daughter.

“Charlotte was diagnosed quite late because she was overlooked,” Annette said.

“We were told we were bad parents our whole life and that we needed to change our parenting and that nothing was wrong with her.”

Annette said they were falling apart in that time prior to Charlotte’s diagnosis.

“It was like hell on earth,” Annette said.

Annette and Nathan tried everything, but decided take matters into their own hands.

“I decide to go above the doctors heads and rang Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) and sent in a form to Royal Far West,” Annette said.

Charlotte was diagnosed in the March by Aspect, and two months later she was accepted into Royal Far West. Annette said walking into Royal Far West was like “walking into a warm hug.” 

“We had no idea where to go.. but they (Royal Far West) did the whole package,” Annette said,

During their first time at Royal Far West the Taylor family saw occupational therapists, speech therapists, psychologists, dentist, optometrists and more.

“It was so busy and overwhelming, but it was unbelievable,” Annette said.

“Everyone is there to do the best for you and your family.. no matter who you are or where you’re from.”

Children also go to school in between their appointments with specialists, Annette said.

We were told we were bad parents our whole life and that we needed to change our parenting and that nothing was wrong with her.

Annette Taylor

Since that first visit last year, the Taylor family have visited Royal Far West in Sydney a total of four times. Annette said Charlotte was “doing amazingly.”

The family are now a part of the Royal Far West Windmill program, which is an early intervention therapy service, run on-site at the campus in Manly.

“We go down once a term for a week.. the difference (in Charlotte) is incredible.”

The family have been able to take strategies and suggestions from Royal Far West to take home.

Before her diagnosis Charlotte would refuse to go to school, but that has since all changed.

Annette said it was “incredible” to know that riders from all over Australia were taking part in the Royal Far West Ride for Country Kids charity fundraiser to help children like Charlotte.

More than 70 cyclists will travel 500 kilometres over three days across north-west NSW in the fundraiser.

The charity ride kicks off in Lightning Ridge on Sunday, April 29. Funds raised from the ride will go directly to the work of Royal Far West.

Bathurst cyclist Liz Smith is participating in the charity ride and will be travelling with Charlotte’s beloved toy ‘Little Charlie Bear’.

Annette and Nathan hope to participate in next years ride to “try and give back.”

Annette said taking matters into her owns hands all stemmed from the “need to make life better.”

“We need to get more awareness out there to parents…,” she said.

“For them to know that the Royal Far West service is available for anyone.”

Royal Far West’s CEO Lindsay Cane said the riders were “an amazing bunch.”

“They have a huge place in their hearts for the communities and families and living in rural and remote areas,” she said.

Riders will commence in Lightning Ridge for day one, where they will then journey to Walgett.

The next day they will depart Walgett for Brewarrina. The third day cyclists will then ride from Brewarrina to Bourke. For more visit rideforcountrykids2018.gofundraise.com.au