Geraldton woman Veronica Lewis finds new life through volunteering after disability led to depression

Matthew PaddickMidwest Times
Veronica Lewis says volunteering with HorsePower has given her a new purpose in life.
Camera IconVeronica Lewis says volunteering with HorsePower has given her a new purpose in life. Credit: Supplied

A First Nations woman in Geraldton says volunteering has given her a new lease on life after disability led her towards depression.

Veronica Lewis, whose family hails from Carnarvon and the Pilbara region, was born with congenital nystagmus and astigmatism, and was diagnosed with significant health issues including being legally blind.

After moving to Perth with her family as a child to get medical support, she moved to Geraldton 20 years ago, with a number of life challenges causing her to slide towards depression.

Speaking out during NAIDOC week, the mother of five said she needed to develop skills to help her live independently, following the end of a long marriage.

““One of biggest challenges for me has been cooking safely and looking after the family home,” she said.

Ms Lewis was able to find practical help through VisAbility, finding assistance in her day-to-day life through NDIS funding and through her occupational therapist Keearny Maher.

Meanwhile, she found her mental health improved through volunteering.

HorsePower helps people with disability ride horses and its programs help with core strength, muscle control and balance.

Ms Lewis said volunteering had changed her outlook.

““Giving back to kids in need and rediscovering my love of horses, has given me a new purpose in life,” she said.

“I’m making a real difference in the lives of others.

“I feel valued, I’m learning new skills and I’ve made some great friends in my community.”

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