Support from the Moore Park Beach community enabled a wheelchair-bound woman to dip her toes in the ocean for the first time in 20 years.
Janine Whyllie and her husband Hank, from Geelong, have been holidaying at Moore Park Beach and said they were blown away by the support from locals who wanted to make her lifelong dream come true.
“I have never known a community to be so welcoming,” she said.
“It's been truly magical.”
Due to complications during chemotherapy and problems caused by diabetes, Mrs Whyllie lost mobility in her feet and legs and hasn't been to the beach in over two decades.
When Moore Park Beach Motel business partners Jan Alcock and Charlie Ikstrums heard about Mrs Whyllie's wish to dip her toes in the water they knew they wanted to get involved.
“Janine had heard that Moore Park Beach Life Saving Club was donated a beach wheelchair a while ago and asked about it,” Ms Alcock said.
“So we chased it up for her; she could use it but it had to be while lifesavers were there, and she had to have a carer with her.”
Ms Alcock said two lifesavers offered their time to be at the beach on Sunday and a call was put out to the local community to see if there were any carers in the area willing to help.
“The response was overwhelming,” she said.
“Vince and Maryann McMahon, a husband and wife team with 12 years experience with a quadriplegic, offered to come and help.”
The big day on the beach
On Sunday morning it all happened; Mrs Whylllie was at the water's edge with her feet in the sea.
“It was just magic,” she said.
“It was beautiful having the waves come up to me.
“I was just so happy, my arms were up in the air and I couldn't wipe the smile from my face.”
Mrs Whyllie said she was blown away by the community support and the experience had not only given her new memories, but also new friendships.
“These people, they are going to be lifelong friends now,” she said.
“It's the best holiday we have ever had.
“We will be leaving with amazing memories and will definitely be coming back to make many more.”
Moore Park Beach Motel business partners Jane Alcock and Charlie Ikstrums said the beach trip was an incredible moment to be part of.
“The look on Janine's face was unbelievable. I don't know how long she just sat there with her feet in the water, getting soaked by waves but with a huge smile on her face,” the duo said.
“It's amazing what we can achieve when we work together, and the community of Moore Park Beach did just that; we made her lifelong dream come true.”
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