We don't think Cooper initially realised he smart black BMW was his, but with help from his dad and younger sister he was soon strapped in, and quickly got the hang of driving around!
Te Awamutu four-year-old Isaac still needs significant sitting support, and so his car was adapted to take his Shuttle Discovery wheelchair seat. His younger brother was firm in his resolve that this is Isaac's car, not his, but he will help. Good lad!
Harrison, aged one, was born with Digeorge syndrome, also known as Catch-22, which brings with it a wide range of symptoms. Fortunately for he - and his mum - his two big sisters are very protective. They helped get him comfy, then when it was obvious he needed a more supportive backrest that could push his seat nearer to the steering wheel, they helped tuck him back in and took him for a drive, now with his feeding device tied to his seatback - he wriggles so much feeding can be tricky, but not when he's tooking around in his new BMW!
Tiny Ella doesn't let microcephaly and double cochlear implants knock her back. The cheerful tot took her new car in her stride. We fitted a supportive backrest to push her closer to the wheel, and she soon started smacking that buddy button - which works the throttle from the steering wheel - like a pro petrolhead!
Hamilton tot Ekvir is nearly two, and was initially very uncertain about his new car. But we bet once he gets it home, he'll love it! He needed a buddy button, and extra handles on his steering wheel, but little else to get going, with dad on the remote to start with
Two-year-old Laikyn has cerebral palsy, and needs more support in her car. We had run out of stock, so a local volunteer will feet an appropriate backrest, for better support and to push her closer to the steering wheel handles and throttle, in the days after handover
Two volunteers to a trip up to Whangarei to hand over Eli's car. It's adapted to take his Shuttle Discovery seat as he needs plenty of sitting support, and uses an extended steering wheel, with the buddy button to work the throttle at its centre, and two handles on the wheel to help him steer. Thanks to Ray White Whangarei there was plenty of space for his parents to try out the remote, and for him to try that throttle himself.
As we left the family were already making plans for sunny day strolls in the town basin, with Eli in his car!
Cheerful Auckland tot Rerehua acquired her new BMW at BMW headquarters, thanks in part to Rotary funding. She was nervous at first, but was attracted by how she could open and close the doors, and was soon ensconced in the driver seat!
Katikati lad Cullum is 1.5 years old, and his cerebral palsy, polymicrogyria and epilepsy are holding him back from independent mobility. Hence the new black Gobabygo car, dropped off by a member of the team who was in the area
Christchurch six-year-old Laszlo was presented with his new car at Christchurch BMW, thanks to local Rotary volunteers and fundraising. Gobabygo Board member Bruce Jackson said Lazslo was immediately keen on his own BMW, as he relies on a walker otherwise. He requires a bit more confidence, especially with reverse, but no doubt he'll get the hang of it quickly once he's home.
Six-year-old Jayden has cerebral palsy, let's hope his new black BMW helps him get about his Mt Wellington suburb
Three-and-a-half-year-old Thomas, from Wellesford, has cerebral palsy, DVI, dystonia and epliepsy, and that makes it hard for him to get about independently. But his Gobabygo BMW should change all that!
Five-year-old Otara lad Cooper has cerebral palsy, and required a full harness among adaptaions to his Gobabygo car
Tw-and-a-half-year-old Glenfield tot has global development delay, but a new, red Gobabygo BMW with the wooden seat adaptation to push the seat closer to the steering wheel will bring with it increased mobility, and should act like a magnet for other kdis
Three-year-old Laren, from Orewa, has a motor disability as well as cerebral palsy.
At one year old, Benji has very little controlled movement, and is not expected to have much walking ability, but he easily understands and can follow instructions
Anja is one of the youngest of our recipients, and among the most complex
Seven kids, seven cars, and great potential for chaos, but thanks in part to the wonderful staff at Coombes Johnston BMW, who even supplied themed cupcakes and drinks, and to the assistance of the therapists who came to help, the day went smoothly.
We had families turn up at staggered interval, allowed plenty of time for kids and parents to get used to the bustle, and got kids into their cars, and assessed what adaptations would be needed, only when they were ready.
Most of the work of identifying and fitting required adaptations has either been done pre-handover, or can be done on site, but sometimes we need to take a car back to the workshop for a bit more fettling.
Thank goodness for supportive therapists, who helped us find answers to a few complex questions we'd not yet met!
Gobabygo brought brochures, information, and two cars to the Muscular Dystrophy conferene in May, one for Zach and one for Hazel.
Naturally their disorders introduce new challenges for the Gobabygo team.
Zach needs a back support that slopes, rather than being vertical, and neither child can support their head and neck as well as a child with cerebral palsy may learn to.
We had to try them in the cars – Hazel couldn't leave the horn and engine sounds alone, and Zach was immediately keen to get driving – then take them away to solve their requirements, including a better-developed buddy switch so they can control the throttle with their hands, as they can't exert enough head pressure.
The cars attracted a lot of attention, with one young lady admiring Hazel's car from her own wheelchair and wishing we'd been around a few years ago...
Meanwhile, now we're on the hunt for a technician to help Geoff, preferably with the ability to build or develop a soft-start switch for a more gentle getaway for children like these.
JACKSON HAS CEREBRAL PALSY, AFFECTING ONLY HIS LEGS, AND ONE DAY HE IS EXPECTED TO WALK INDEPENDENTLY
BENJAMIN HAS CEREBRAL PALSY AFFECTING ALL FOUR LIMBS, AND AT FOUR YEARS OLD HE'S ALWAYS RELIED ON OTHERS TO MOVE HIM AROUND
Luca is an outgoing wee chap who needs help to get around
BMW DEALERSHIPS ARE GETTING BEHIND THE DISTRIBUTOR'S SUPPORT FOR GOBABYGO. FIRST IT WAS TAURANGA, THIS TIME IT WAS AUCKLAND CITY BMW. ITS STAFF CLEARED SPACE NEXT TO THE PRACTICAL i3 AND SLEEK i8 ELECTRIC CARS FOR US TO FINISH SETTING UP THE GOBABYGO CARS TO SUIT THEIR NEW OWNERS, INTRODUCE THE KIDS AND GET THEM COMFY.
THEN ITS MAIN AISLE BECAME A RACE TRACK AS THE THREE BOYS TRIED THE CARS IN MOTION FOR THE FIRST TIME.
THIS IS THE DEALERSHIP WHICH HELD FAMOUS 'NOT AN APRIL FOOL' JOKE SWAP OF A NEW BMW FOR AN OLD CAR, THE WINNING WOMAN'S $2000 NISSAN AUCTIONED TO HELP PAY FOR THE ADAPTATIONS TO THESE THREE GOBABYGO CARS
Hannah proved a challenge for the team, but soon loved her new wheels
India-Rose collected her car in Auckland, alongside wee Hannah
India-Rose collected her car in Auckland, alongside wee Hannah
Kaleb has cerebral palsy and at four years old, can't yet walk
Tauranga's BMW dealer even cleared cars from the showroom, got balloons and set up the 'Welcome to the BMW Family' signs that normally greet new owners of full-size cars.
The space was appreciated as though James was in hospital, and would collect his car later, one of our recipients was settled in and driving within minutes, and naughtily started chasing our ankles around the premises just as any kid would do - albeit starting late, as to chase ankles requires independent mobility not normally available to these kids until now
BMW had been supporting Gobabygo in a quiet way for some months, but stepped forward with cars, and some funding to adapt them, plus increasing support from its network and dealers.
We celebrated by giving two cars to kids at BMW head office so its managing director Nina Englert (pictured between Gobabygo CEO Gilli and tech volunteer Mark) and staff could see what we were doing.
Both girls have cerebral palsy, and Hannah is also profoundly deaf.
Her mother switched her cochlear implants off for the handover as the unfamiliar noises upset her, and both girls needed a little time to get comfy in BMW's atrium before they could relax, and enjoy the ride.
Masterton toddler Lili was born at 25 weeks, and soon her parents were told to switch off life support. But when she grasped mum's finger and opened her eyes as they said goodbye, they knew they had a little battler on their hands, and that was that!
Though curious about the car at handover, she wasn't able immediately to use the controls, but mum says they're working with her in the living room she's showing some progress.
They expect, with much patience, that her electric toy BMW will help her get mobile much earlier than she might otherwise, and at a level that will help her relate with her young brother and other kids.
While most Gobabygo cars are donated – BMW kindly having signed on and supplied 30 of this year's cars – families do have to wait until we're in their area, as it's more cost effective to supply and deliver several cars at a time.
But those able to fundraise may be able to get their car earlier by covering the cost, and Wellington two-year-old Oscar benefitted from his energetic family's efforts on his behalf.
It helped that the adaptations he needed were simliar to those we've already delivered, and by now we knew what questions to ask, and which measurements were needed, so we were able to construct the car at home base, and send two Gobabygo volunteers to deliver it to his home.
During our initial learning process the hand-over took two stages, with the kids meeting us with their therapist to discuss what was needed and how we might make the adaptations.
Geoff flew to Nelson in his own time, met therapist Mindy and the two kids and their parents at Saxton Stadium, and returned home loaded with measurements and information.
He then got to work, before we couriered the completed cars south.