Western Australia-based NDIS Participant Claire Kennelly has been living with multiple sclerosis (MS) for over three decades now. Despite the many challenges she faces brought about by MS, she continues to focus on things she’s passionate about such as helping other people.
For a big part of her life, Claire has worked as a fully trained paramedic and was then serving as a first responder in the United States of America when the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks happened in New York. In her line of work, she has been trained to deal with trauma, stress, and random emergency cases for so many instances in her life. Despite this, no one has prepared her to face an incident as big as the 9/11 attacks. “I have lost most people I know. Working as a first responder, it drives you crazy,” says Claire.
She came back to Australia much later on to leave her career behind and to manage her life as a person living with MS. Although working as a full-time paramedic is already out of the picture, this did not stop Claire from using her skills and talent in extending help to other people within her reach.
With the aid of her local Christian church, The Grove Church, Claire founded two years ago the “Heart to Heart” ministry. Her personal advocacy aims to help individuals who need prayers, medical help, or counselling. This can be as simple as talking to someone who is lonely, bringing that person to a park, and just being present for someone who needs a listening ear.
When Claire was diagnosed with MS, she already understood that there are certain things in life she can no longer do every day. But her situation also helped her better understand what else she can do beyond her disability, and consequently, play to her strengths.
“When people are in trouble, I want to be there. I want to help people. I want to make a difference — and this will hopefully make a positive domino effect to the community,” says Claire.
As a NDIS Participant, she believes that both the NDIS and NDSP Plan Managers have helped her a lot in her MS journey and generally, in her life now. Claire’s NDIS plan includes physio & occupational therapies, assistive technology, and access to support workers.
“NDSP helps me with my NDIS plan and they walk me through it. NDSP goes above and beyond… and because I don’t have to worry anymore about managing my NDIS plans daily, I am able to focus more on ‘Heart to Heart’ and my ministry. NDSP makes life a better place,” adds Claire.
If you wish to learn more about “Heart to Heart,” you can visit their Facebook page or you can also contact Claire via firstname.lastname@example.org.