Debbie Parker with her son Mathew Flanagan, who has cerebral palsy, outside their flood-affected family home. The Cerebral Palsy League will hold a fundraiser on January 28 to raise money for the family.
Debbie Parker with her son Mathew Flanagan, who has cerebral palsy, outside their flood-affected family home. The Cerebral Palsy League will hold a fundraiser on January 28 to raise money for the family. Sarah Harvey

Community reaches out to family

WHAT seems like a small army of helpers has swarmed at Debbie and Tom Parker’s sodden, muddy shell of a house at Bundamba.

The Parkers have lost most of their possessions to the flood that swept through their neighbourhood a fortnight ago.

Their home disappeared under the dirty water, up to the roof.

Almost everything has been taken from them – all their furniture, white goods – in the home they bought about eight years ago.

Mrs Parker had only a few minutes to decide what to save.

“When we decided to leave, I grabbed a heap of clothes and son Mathew’s medication,” she said.

“I knew I should take that because Mathew’s an epileptic. I do scrapbooking, so grabbed albums of the five kids.

“I came upstairs and grabbed a suitcase.

“No one let us know we had to go.”

The morning the family left their home, Mr Parker heard Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale’s televised warning that residents of low-lying areas should evacuate.

“We all got out of the home by midday Tuesday (January 11),” he said.

“It’s very hard to put a figure on how much we’ve lost.

“We lost two cars, my son’s and his girlfriend’s.

“We were told that (a flood like the one in 1974) would never happen again.

“We’ve been here for a week or more, trying to clean the house up.”

The volunteers are helping the Parkers to make their home liveable once again.

“Some of the family are builders and painters, so we’re hoping they’ll come to the rescue,” Mr Parker said.

“I’m not shifting. I’m going to rebuild – I’ve got heaps of help.”

Mrs Parker and her eldest son Mathew Flanagan are staying with her mother at Darra until their home is fit to be lived in again.

Mathew’s wheelchair was among the possessions ruined. He has cerebral palsy and one of his favourite pastimes was watching animated movies.

But his family also lost their television and DVD player in the floods.

The Parkers’ insurance company has yet to give an answer on the extent of flood coverage.

“I don’t think we’ll get anything,” Mr Parker said.

Assistance in the form of cash will come from a fundraiser to be held by the Cerebral Palsy League at Unit 6, 8 Commercial Drive, Springfield, this Friday, January 28, from midday.

The barbecue is open to the public for a gold coin donation.



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