In May 2002, a close friend (and travelling companion) of founding directors Philip Re and Peter Torre was seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident whilst on a fishing holiday in central WA. The nature of his injuries left him with permanent paralysis from the chest down. With a lengthy rehabilitation program in front of him, Philip and Peter witnessed first hand the tough road ahead of spinal cord injured individuals – both physically and mentally.
It was during their visits to the Royal Perth Rehabilitation Hospital, Shenton Park that they also became aware of the financial impact of such a life changing injury.
The majority of the inpatients that they met were not eligible for any compensation – meaning that they had the difficult task of having to purchase expensive assistive or rehabilitative equipment whilst on a disability support pension. Furthermore, they were stunned to learn of the limited resources available via the existing charitable organisations.
It was this realisation that set the wheels in motion for the establishment of their own foundation – one specifically to assist those people in our community living with a spinal cord injury.
In mid 2005, The Better Life Foundation WA was officially established. The Foundation provides financial assistance with the purchase of assistive equipment to non-compensable individuals who have experienced a trauma related spinal cord injury.
A few months later, the Foundation was proud to assist its’ first beneficiary with the provision of an assistive device to allow a person with no arm movement to utilise a computer.
In July 2006, the Board of the Foundation expanded to 5 directors – each drawing upon their own professional experience to unite in the common goal of improving the lives of people with a spinal cord injury.
The Better Life Foundation WA has continued to grow and evolve and although we are very proud of what we have achieved thus far, we are still mindful that there is much more to do.