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Piper’s birthday in Port Phillip Bay

Monday, February 4, 2019

Piper Sydney celebrated her 8th birthday with a dip in the water at Half Moon Bay, Black Rock on the Australia Day weekend. Not a big deal for most children, but for children living with disability and experiencing mobility issues, this is a huge deal.

Piper suffers from epilepsy and, until recently, had never had a swim in the Bay. Bayside City Council has installed beach access matting and introduced floating wheelchairs at both Half Moon Bay and Hampton beaches to provide beach access to people with mobility issues. Piper and her family tried these out last month and returned on the Australia Day weekend for her birthday.

Piper travels over six hours from Mildura to visit the Royal Children’s Hospital for regular treatment. She stays with her godmother in Malvern East.

Piper’s godmother, Stacey said: “This is a fabulous initiative by Bayside City Council.

“For Piper to be able to enjoy the beach with her siblings and experience the thrill of going in the water is just amazing.

“Our family can now enjoy this simple pleasure that other families take for granted.

“Piper can have up to 25 seizures a day and it’s good to know that she will be safe in the floating wheelchair, should she have a seizure.”

Bookings for the floating beach wheelchairs are made online via Bayside City Council’s website and managed by lifesavers from the Half Moon Bay Surf Lifesaving Club and Hampton Lifesaving Club.

The Mayor, Cr Michael Heffernan said: “Opportunities for people living with disability or experiencing mobility issues to access and enjoy Bayside’s beautiful beaches continues to grow.

"We are committed to making Bayside a more inclusive place to live and providing access to recreational opportunities for people of all ages and abilities.”

Piper has her own website: www.ourpurpleprincess.com  which has had over 350,000 views.

To read more about accessibility at Bayside's beaches and check availability and book our floating wheelchairs, visit our accessible beaches page.

piper's family