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Willoughby Living

November 12, 2016

Jeremy & Jack Norton

“Jack was born in New York in 2007 and our world was turned on its head. He was born with a very rare chromosome anomaly the specialists had not seen before. Jack has a severe developmental disability resulting in significant cognitive and physical challenges. With our daughter, Olivia, born in 2009 and then with our youngest, Madi, on the way in 2011, we made the move back to Sydney. After touring all the special needs schools on the north shore we decided on Cromehurst in Lindfield – funny how life goes full circle because I grew up in Lindfield and travelled past Cromehurst everyday as a kid to get to high school. And now to come completely full circle, Olivia is currently in 1st class at Willoughby Public School and she regularly sees Jackie in the playground because WPS has a buddy program with Cromehurst – such an amazing initiative! Staying fit helps me deal with all that I have to juggle mentally and physically. I became an avid cyclist (MAMIL some would say, but I’m not Middle Aged yet!) and organised a charity ride in beautiful Robertson to raise money for the Cromehurst Foundation. With the money raised last year we were able to subsidise a five day holiday camp during the September holidays for eight Cromehurst students. Holiday care is a massive issue for Special Needs Schools, as breaks in schedule are difficult for kids like Jack who thrive on routine and consistency and can’t ask questions. They often regress during school breaks and holidays. The goal is to expand the holiday care for all school holiday periods and then to provide after school care, not just for Cromehurst students, but all kids with special needs in the area. The Foundation also paid for the installation of a Liberty Swing that allows children in wheelchairs the opportunity to experience the joy of having a swing in the playground. In addition, the money raised is going towards much needed renovations to the Cromehurst Cottage, the small house beside the school, where 15-18 year-olds stay overnight mid-week and are taught valuable living skills so they are better equipped to contribute to society after school. Lastly, we funded art and music lessons and a clown with balloons. If you see our son around Willoughby, chances are he’s holding a balloon. Jack adores balloons!”

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