Competing for the honour of naming one of our three Can Vans, Cheryl’s entry was named ‘JesseCan’, in honour of her son Jesse, who was diagnosed at age 9 with severe cognitive delays and who also suffers with anxiety and depression.
For 58 year-old Cheryl, life hasn’t always been easy. Originally from Bendigo in Victoria and currently living in Adelaide, Cheryl had a severe horse riding accident when she was just 14 years old. The stress of which brought out severe psoriasis on 95% of her body. She left school early because of the condition and living with the condition has been a challenge.
“Living with psoriasis has had extreme effects on me, knocked my confidence away and I have suffered from anxiety and depression for years. I have also had fibromyalgia for many years and am now on a disability pension”. When asked what message she would like the Can Van to spread, Cheryl says,
“To anyone living with a disability, no matter what it is – don’t ever give up. You matter and you are beautiful”.
Cheryl raised 3 boys as a single Mum; Brad, Adam and Jesse. Jesse, her youngest, was diagnosed with severe cognitive delays at age 9 and also struggles with anxiety and depression.“Jesse struggles with things like catching public transport, speaking on the phone, filling out forms and handling money. He is very keen to obtain part-time work which is wonderful, and he’s also hoping to get his learners permit soon”
“I am Jesse’s carer and I take him to his appointments and classes, which are most days of the week. I do have a lot of help, he has a case manager, a tutor, an anger management lady, the people at Tumblin Go, and he has seen a psychologist for the last ten years. I’m so grateful for all the help he receives”.
Jesse is currently working toward his goal of living independently. “He is so keen to get his own place and it has been really hard for me to explain to him that he can’t afford to live alone until he has a job, because he has trouble grasping concepts like the cost of living”.
“I’m so proud of how far he has come and I hope it will be possible for this dream to come true for him. It would be a great confidence booster for him. I came up with the name “JesseCan” for the Can Van because I always say to him ‘you can do anything you put your mind to. It doesn’t matter if it takes you a while to achieve it, just give it a go!”
Cheryl’s message to carers When asked what message she has for carers of children with disability, Cheryl says: “Your love and support means the world to them. I know there are far worse disabilities than my boy has, but I know how tiring, frustrating,upsetting and heartbreaking it can be to see your loved one struggle every single day. I know, like me, you probably bear the brunt of their frustration and anger, but it’s just because they love and trust you to cop it. Please push, push, push for every little bit of help you can get for them and don’t YOU ever give up either”.
Follow JesseCan the Can Van
The JesseCan Can Van will be touring around NSW spreading Cheryl’s message, helping people with job search support and raising awareness of the benefits of people with disability finding and keeping meaningful work. Click here to see when it comes to a town near you.