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11-year-old battling brain tumour explores Tasmanian wilderness with special wheelchair

Pulse Tasmania
Image / Supplied PWS

An 11-year-old girl with an inoperable, tennis ball-sized brain tumour has been able to visit one of Tasmania’s world-famous national parks, thanks to an all-terrain wheelchair.

Sharing Abbey Barrett’s story, Tasmania’s Parks and Wildlife Service said that while everyone enjoys exploring nature, trekking through then state’s national parks “can be easier said than done for some”.

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“The tumour and associated treatments she receives rule her out from walking long distances due to the fatigue she experiences – meaning lengthy bushwalks are simply out of the question,” Parks and Wildlife said.

“However, thanks to an all-terrain wheelchair, Abbey and many others are now able to get back outside and explore the places they love.”

After long stints in hospital, getting back to nature is bliss for the Barrett family. Image / Supplied PWS

Abbey’s mum Justine Barrett said having access to the wheelchair made their recent trip to the Mount Field National Park a special experience.

“The TrailRider wheelchair allowed our family to visit Lake Dobson and to explore the Pandani Grove Nature Walk – one of our favourites,” she said.

Image / Supplied PWS

“Surrounding ourselves with nature, smelling the bush, and listening to the currawongs after months of hospital visits and appointments was absolute bliss.”

TrailRiders are available for visitors to borrow, free of charge, and enable users to navigate stairs and uneven terrain, providing access to areas of national parks that would otherwise be unreachable.

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At Mount Field, Parks and Wildlife say walks including the Pandani Grove, Tall Trees, Horseshoe Falls and Lady Barron Falls can be visited with a TrailRider, alongside trails at Freycinet and Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Parks.

The City of Hobart also offers TrailRiders for hire, allowing users to explore different routes and selected tracks around the city within Knocklofty Reserve, Waterworks Reserve, Wellington Park, Queens Domain and Hobart Rivulet Park.

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