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A new chapter for a woman who has survived great adversity supported by her love of God, her family and her art - Identitywa - Registered NDIS Provider

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A new chapter for a woman who has survived great adversity supported by her love of God, her family and her art

  • Posted on 24 September 2019

Andrea with the Dean of St Mary's Cathedral, Fr Sean Fernandez

It’s the peace and quiet, and finally, after a long time, being able to have her very personal and revered belongings around her, that Andrea feels makes her new home just perfect.

For many years, she has had to rely on a variety of charities for accommodations which were predominantly shared and definitely didn’t offer the peace and quiet she longed for.  These living arrangements also did not allow her to spend time with her family comfortably or to pursue her desire to paint religious art.

Whilst Andrea’s life had been very challenging, in 2009 it changed completely when she suffered a stroke on her birthday.  In addition to a number of devastating outcomes, the stroke took the use of her right arm and her speech.  She spent nine months in hospital with the grim prospect of a long recovery.

A devout Catholic, it was her strong faith that motivated her in her recovery… and her passion for art!

“In hospital I started to draw with my left hand,” explains Andrea.  “It was truly a miracle as I am naturally right handed.”

Continuing to face much adversity, Andrea eventually came to Identitywa for support in 2017 and since then staff, have been working closely with Andrea.

“It has been inspiring to watch Andrea’s confidence and sense of belonging develop,” said Team Leader, Wendy Spicer.

“Initially she tended to be a little reclusive, which was predominantly due to her difficult living situations.  She was also less likely to ask for help.

“Today, we see a completely different Andrea.  Through her greater sense of independence, she has grown to be more confident.  She now loves sharing a coffee or a hot chocolate at her local coffee shop and socialising in her community.  She regularly attends Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral assisted by her support worker.

“Her home could be described as her shrine.  Her artwork surrounds her, as do many religious artifacts which provide her with great comfort,” said Wendy.

Through the determination and persistence of her Identitywa support workers and the Department of Communities Housing’s Priority Public Housing Assistance, Andrea now has her own ‘address’ –  her own unit where she is free to do whatever she wants when she wants.

“The staff have been excellent,” said Andrea.  “They are so caring and have helped me so much.”

“I am very grateful to all of them and the chance to have my own home with my special things close to me is wonderful.”

Wendy says witnessing the change in Andrea has been very rewarding for all the staff who have shared her journey so far.

“We look forward to continuing to support her to achieve her goals of growing her faith and independence and pursuing her art in the commercial world.

Andrea happy at home

Andrea happy at home

Andrea at work

Andrea at work

Identitywa is one of WA’s leading agencies supporting people with disability to live the life they choose.  With a strong commitment to Person Centred Active Support, staff work in partnership with individuals to explore, plan and design support options to suit their individual needs.

For more information go to or call 9474 3033.


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