Four-year-old Scarlett Whitmore and her parents Kate and Marcus are over the moon with joy. After six months of intense fundraising, they are the recipients of a wheelchair-accessible KIA Carnival to help transport Scarlett in her wheelchair more easily and safely.

Scarlett is the only person in WA identified with GNB1 Syndrome, a rare disease that affects the signalling inside her cells. As a result, Scarlett is unable to independently move, communicate, or feed herself. As Scarlett has grown, it has become increasingly difficult for her parents to lift her all the time, so the Rotary Club of Mt Lawley, along with friends and family, has worked feverishly to raise funds for a wheelchair-accessible vehicle for Scarlett and her family.

The NDIS covers the cost of fitting a vehicle for wheelchair transport, however another $39,000 was required to purchase a suitable vehicle. A range of Rotary fundraising events were held, including a movie screening of Toy Story 4, a Bunnings sausage sizzle, and a fundraising evening with live music at the Jazz Cellar. In total, $27,000 was raised by the Rotary Club of Mt Lawley via a tax-deductible RAWCS account, with generous contributions from many individuals, and $9,000 donated from the  Rotary Club of Dalkeith’s Charitable Trust.

“Scarlett is a such a charismatic little girl. She is beyond happy and has a heart of gold and smile that lights up the room,” said Scarlett’s mum Kate. “We are so blessed to have her, and Scarlett's wheelchair-modified vehicle is life-changing for us.”

With a constant stream of appointments to attend for Scarlett’s various health issues, and numerous hospital admissions, there is no doubt the vehicle will make a huge difference to Scarlett and her family.

“To the beautiful people at the Rotary Club of Mt Lawley, there are no words to express our gratitude. Thank you so much to everyone involved, you are such generous souls and we are so very grateful,” said Kate. “There are too many people to thank personally, but I must thank our neighbour Ness, Jody and all the amazing people at Body Central Lifestyle Centre for their Rowathon event that raised a lot of money, and last but not least, our local Lions Club for contributing $5,000.”

“This car symbolises something really special to us, for a number of reasons, and we just feel so honoured we get to make more precious memories in it.”

Scarlett with parents Marcus and Kate Whitmore