TOGETHER: Franklin Silver Lining Trust special break recipient Ali Andrew with her children Livi, Fergus and Josh. Absent is eldest son Shane.
Ali grateful for chance to unwind
“Someone has really thought of us and seen how we have struggled. It’s a nice feeling. And it’s really great that the other kids were included. As siblings are often overlooked.” Ali Andrew
Pukekohe solo mum Ali Andrew reckons she’s just that – a mum. But those who know her best, and, of course her kids, believe she is much more – in their eyes, she’s a super mum. Her loving dedication to her four teenage children, in particular special needs son Fergus, saw her recently rewarded and recognized with a Franklin Silver Lining Trust special break.
The family enjoyed courtside seats at a Fastnet netball game and are waiting for the right time to use Ali’s other reward, a weekend away at Port Waikato Top 10 Holiday Park.
‘‘I was so blown away. It was such a generous gift,’’ Ali said. ‘‘Someone has really thought of us and seen how we have struggled. It’s a nice feeling. And it’s really great that the other kids were included. As siblings are often overlooked.’’
Ali is mum to Shane 20, Josh 18, Livi 14, and Fergus, 16. Fergus was born with severe global delays and has the intellectual capacity of a one-year-old. Earlier this year, Fergus entered care with IHC in Papakura. Asking for help to care for her son, was a mammoth task for Ali, who had done the job mostly on her own since his birth. But it was a decision her body and health forced her into making. Fergus needs 24-hour care, and Ali was exhausted. ‘‘Ferg doesn’t know night from day. Some nights he’d wake at 11pm and think it was time to get up for the day. ‘‘It’s a bit like living with a newborn. He can wake up to three times a night and there were some nights I was so exhausted, I didn’t wake when he did. ‘‘I was terrified that he might hurt himself, or even burn down the house. Basically I’ve had 16 years of no sleep. ’’ Ali was so fatigued through broken sleep, she had to close down her business as a landscape gardener. Now, with more time on her hands and settling into a routine of regular sleep, she hopes to soon start work again. But her priority is her children.
‘‘Ferg is happy, really happy. With Ferg, all I have to do is love him, but with the other three, I have to equip them with the skills they need too grow as an adult. ‘‘They are amazing, I’ve always wanted the kids to love Ferg, never to resent him, and they adore him. Their positive attitude has got me through many dark days.’’
Story by JULIE KAIO