Graeme | New Lynn

“As you can see, I’m in a wheelchair, and I’ve had many ups and downs over the years, and I have CMT, which is a disease of the nervous system. Unfortunately, I’ve lost one eye, and I’m losing the other eye. Things can be pretty tough at times, but two years ago, I moved in with my son, and I’m 70, and Matthew’s 37.

Talk about silver linings. Our lives changed completely now that we are living together. We are like two brothers. I don’t treat him as my son, and we live together. Matthew had a car accident three years ago. He’s got my CMT, so he’s got problems, but we turn all the problems into positives. I have a caregiver, so many hours a day, and between the three of us, we live a relatively normal life, and I don’t think of us both as being disabled, anymore. 

To keep on top of things, and remain positive, it’s just the power of thinking positive all the time. I have many down times, and Matthew has many down times, but we manage to keep each other positive by different things that we do. Trying not to be negative, and just generally making sure that we don’t get negative and we keep positive.

I am 70 years old. I was born in a small place down on the Hauraki Plains. Mum and Dad were farming. I always say the best years of life were those on the farm. We left the farm when I was 20. Dad sold it, because it was getting too difficult, and then I became a telephone operator. I worked my way up to be supervisor at Pahiatua and then my disability started to take control, and I retired, and so now I live on my pension and super, and everything’s good.”

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