Anna is 13 years old. She is charming, charismatic, funny, and infectiously cheerful. She is in year 7 and loves Drama and Music as well as the colour pink. She has 6 pets – 4 cats and 2 birds.
Anna also has severe Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita, a condition that limits her mobility, range of movement, muscle development, and overall growth. To date, she’s had more than 44 procedures and will likely require more. Anna stands at 127cm and will not grow much taller.
At the end of last year, Anna completed primary school and wanted nothing more than to join her friends at the secondary campus of her school. Unfortunately, this seemingly straightforward move would take a toll on her health. The secondary campus was significantly more spread out and, with Anna’s limited mobility, it would be too difficult to move between classes on time without arriving exhausted.
Heartbreakingly, Anna faced the prospect of saying goodbye to her friends and moving to a special needs school where, in her words, she would not “be able to reach my full potential and be the best I can be”.
That’s where PACE stepped in.
PACE is a not-for-profit project started by Aspect in 2012. Each year, our consultants reach out to clients, some of Melbourne’s leading businesses in the built and natural environment, and ask them to fill out an anonymous survey about salary levels, business conditions, hiring trends, and more. Using the data collected, we produce a Victoria-specific report covering the planning, architecture, construction, engineering, and surveying industries To date, more than 355 firms have participated.
What makes PACE so special is that companies make a donation in order to secure their copy. Every dollar that’s contributed is then donated to that year’s charity. In 2016, we partnered with Variety – the Children’s Charity to help children who are sick, disadvantaged, or have special needs get the equipment they require to lead fulfilling lives.
For Anna, that meant a grant from the organisation that allowed her family to purchase a Freerider Luggie Elite Mobility Scooter. The scooter, which folds up neatly into the family car, allows her to get around school and arrive to classes on time and full of energy. The “kids version of a red Ferrari” scooter, as Anna describes it, has storage space to carry Anna’s books and school supplies so she can keep up with her friends.
The grant money for Anna’s scooter came directly from the money raised by those who purchased the 2016 PACE report. While PACE has always been not-for-profit, never have I been so proud of the project than I was meeting Anna, having the privilege of speaking with her, and seeing the direct impact PACE has had on her life.
Thank you to the entire PACE community. From the team at Aspect Personnel to the hundreds of people who contribute data and donate to the project, together, we’ve changed Anna’s life.