In May 2017, Robbie Caliste’s life was turned upside down.

The fiercely independent 34-year-old from Derrimut was diagnosed with the insidious Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

Determined to continue to live his own life, Robbie continued to live in the house he shared with friends. But as the disease progressed and he started losing some functions he had many falls, and was forced to move back to his family home with father John, mother Michelle and brother Paul. With the move came many challenges, including coming to terms with the amount of invasive care that he would receive from his family as his full-time carers.

His father John said that as the family has struggled to come to terms with the disease, the support of MND Victoria had been enormous.

“One of the biggest helps to us all has been MND Victoria, who are the only organisation delivering care and support to people living with MND.

“Their motto is ‘Until there’s a cure, there’s care’ and MND Victoria provided information and helped us connect with services and particularly as the disease progressed, they provided Robbie with amazing equipment that really changed our lives,” said John.

So far, Robbie has been provided with a regular wheelchair and then a power wheelchair, an over table for bed, a trolley table, an electric lift, strap lifter and a high back chair used for the dinner table.

He has also been provided with other equipment that helps in the shower and with toileting, a walking frame on wheels, a buzzer for help and pressure pillows for his wheelchair.

“This has made all the difference to Robbie still being able to live at home independently, enjoy time with our family and our friends and to still be connected in the community, all at no cost to us,” said John.

In a bid to give back, John will head up “Team Robbie” and take part in the 16th annual Walk to D’Feet MND. The walk will be held at Princes Park in Carlton at 10am on Sunday, November 17 and is an easy 3.5kilometre flat walk which is wheelchair and pram friendly.