Tradies get job done for patient

Alexandra woman Carla Hill and her son Nate check out the bathroom voluntarily remodelled by...
Alexandra woman Carla Hill and her son Nate check out the bathroom voluntarily remodelled by Alexandra trades firms to accommodate her needs after she had been waiting more than eight months for ACC to help. PHOTO: JULIE ASHER
An eight-month - and counting - wait for an accessible shower in her home has come to an end for an Alexandra woman, thanks to her community.

Sitting in the newly finished bathroom yesterday, Carla Hill said it was "bloody brilliant".

The plight of Ms Hill, 46, was published in the Otago Daily Times last month after her 16-year-old son Nate contacted the newspaper.

He was desperate to get some immediate help for his mother, who has terminal cancer, as they had been waiting seven months for ACC sign-off on renovations to their rented home. Ms Hill had been going to either her parents’ home or the swimming pool to take a shower.

Her siblings shared the story on their social media accounts the following weekend.

Within a hour their phones began to ring with offers of help from Central Otago businesses and tradesmen to get the bathroom altered, Ms Hill said.

"I was overwhelmed. They should be paid. They shouldn’t do it for free. ACC should pay."

Builder Joseph Lloyd, of JML Builders, said an army of Alexandra tradespeople and suppliers stepped up to help out.

Fellow builder Jason McDonough, from Jim’s Home and Building Maintenance, said it was not hard to get people involved.

An ACC housing assessment in October 2023 found a wet-floor bathroom had to be installed.

However, despite landlord Geoff Graham’s willingness to alter the house in any way needed, there were delays in getting ACC to approve it.

Last month, ACC service delivery deputy chief executive Amanda Malu saidits priority was to make sure Ms Hill’s injury-related needs were met "as soon as possible".

"Carla is getting rehabilitation support through physiotherapy, occupational therapy, home help, housing equipment and help with transport costs."

The time taken to complete housing modifications depended on several factors, such as the scope and complexity of modifications, availability of builders and materials, and the involvement of other parties, councils and disability services.

"However, our goal is to have the modifications done as safely and as quickly as possible," Ms Malu said.

Mr Graham was modest about his part in getting the bathroom renovated.

"I’m just doing what you do, really. I own [the house] but it’s Carla and the kids’ home."

The support from the community was humbling, Ms Hill said.

"It’s just brilliant, brilliant, brilliant that they’re doing it. It just shows you what a small community does. You don’t know how repay them."

In 2007, while pregnant with Nate, Ms Hill was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. It was the radiation treatment used to fight that cancer that caused the breast cancer she now lives with. The cancer had now advanced to her back and hips.

Confirmation the breast cancer was a treatment injury allowed Ms Hill to access support from ACC.