Today, we feature Jacy Arthur, a writer, motivational speaker, mentor, and philanthropist, who runs her own chaperone-travel-buddy service, ‘Companion for a Day’. Her service makes sure that anyone who needs a safe and friendly pick-up and drop-off is well-looked after, while being driven to any destination of their choice, day or night.
Jacy was born with cerebral palsy (CP). Around 40,000 Australians live with CP and one in every 500 babies is diagnosed with it at birth. CP is often misunderstood and stigmatised; Jacy’s experiences were the same. She also had escalating challenges she faced both physically and emotionally, day in and out. Jacy cannot hear, has speech impairments and limited muscle dexterity. Yet, nothing could stop Jacy Arthur from being a strong voice for everyone and helping to recast disability as different “ability”.
Jacy’s two books, If Only You Knew and If Only You Knew Too (each available through the OneCard Network* of South Australian libraries), are infused with her irresistible charisma, courage, and heart. The books contain over 60 images of her childhood and teens, as she grew into a strong-willed woman. Both books have gained ground as two of the most lived-experienced reads by someone living with CP. (* South Australia’s OneCard Network at https://onecard.network/client/en_AU/sapubliclibraries.)
Jacy appreciates TADSA; she sought help from our volunteers many years ago to design and make her a special helmet with a flexi-hook. Her vigour and endless love for adventure and life made TADSA reach out further, and our tech expert Bruce has done some clever designs, makes and modifications such as the swivel table attached to Jacy’s bed, plug-in kitchen sink, multi-use table trolley, the fixed-top scissor, the magnetic doorknob and the single hand-brake system for Jacy’s scooter. All of these TADSA modifications help Jacy to reinforce her ability to live independently despite her disabilities.
Jacy is also the “queen of ideation”; she made idle space into somewhere useful when she wanted Bruce to transform her dish washer to a handy, hygienic storage space for utensils and the like. TADSA designed and put in place an extendable wire rack for her oven. Even the cats have benefitted, with a pair of cat feeder handles to make daily living practical and enjoyable.
At 50 years of age—and after many surgeries to keep her going—Jacy actively pursues and maintains her friendships, romance, family life and career while accomplishing great things. Jacy says that through hard work and determination, “anything and “everything” are possible when external barriers to access and mobility are overcome, and design is inclusive.”