Beau is unstoppable in his new wheels, exploring the farm, trails and even the coast.
From the backyard to the beach and across paddocks on the farm, Beau Hodder is not limited by his disability thanks to the care and commitment of his family.
Those qualities are also at the forefront of the business that has ensured Beau gets where he wants to go in a safe and secure manner.
The Hunter Valley seven-year-old has cerebral palsy and is reliant on a wheelchair. But far from constrained by it, Beau is benefiting from his custom-made Dejay SMIK wheelchair.
For 35 years, Dejay Medical has been specialising in assistive technology for children and adults, with a range of wheelchairs – all handmade in the business’ Sydney workshop – as well as walking and standing solutions, paediatric seating and tricycles, including its renowned frame running bikes.
Beau’s family was first introduced to the team at Dejay when Beau turned three and had outgrown his special needs stroller.
Mum, Emma, says the experience of working with Dejay to enhance Beau’s lifestyle has been faultless.
“Getting a wheelchair can be overwhelming for a family, but for us it just opened up the activities we could do and helped Beau’s world become more accessible, as we couldn’t continue to carry him everywhere,” Emma explains.
“We trialed lots of wheelchairs but decided on the SMIK Buzz because it was compact and we could easily lift it in and out of our car. It also folded up and collapsed, which was a bonus for us when we were going away and needed to pack the car to the brim.
“We were also lucky enough to get Dejay to build us a custom third wheel which made the Buzz even more accessible. It lifted the front castors off the ground and made it possible for us to take to the farms where my husband Jarrod and I both grew up, to visit family.
“The Buzz also gave Beau the chance to have an opportunity to learn to self propel – which he never mastered but we wanted to try.”
Steve from Dejay remembers first meeting Beau, when the family lived in the ACT and wanted a chair to utilise the trails around their home.
“The SMIK wheelchair was developed back when there were limited solutions available for families,” Steve says.
“Each chair is custom-made to suit the needs of each family. They are robust to handle the rigours of young children who can be hard on their equipment.
“A free trial at home helped us to design and build a solution to meet Beau’s needs.”
Beau has now grown into a SMIK Joey which has pneumatic wheels and off-road tyres, allowing the family – including sister Tilly and dog Ted – to explore the coast close to their home. “Beau loves the beach and is a bit of a dare devil. He loves his dad taking him into the big waves,” Emma says.
Seeing the happy faces of customers like Beau living life to the full is what inspires the Dejay team at Dejay offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
“We have had long relationships with many of our clients,” Steve explains.
“We have watched them grow up and explore the world and share their memories with us. We do what we do because we love what we do.”
It’s apparent that Dejay’s passion and professionalism is respected by their clients, with the Hodder family impressed by their efficient service.
“We love working with Dejay. They make the SMIK’s in their warehouse in Sydney which reduces the wait time for Beau to get new equipment,” Emma says.
“This was a big factor for us given the current wait times for other equipment since the pandemic.
“We love our SMIK and would definitely recommend the chair.
“We have found Dejay amazing to work with. Beau’s first chair lasted the whole three years he had it – it was hardy and never broke or needed anything replaced on it. It lasted so well we actually donated it to a little person who needed it after Beau via Ben, our rep from Dejay.”
By Rachel Williams