Sunday, 29 November 2015


I don't know about you, but September, October, & November have FLOWN by in our house.. I was shocked to discover that I haven't posted a thing for you since August! It's probably about time I filled you in..

'Hi again!' Mahalah, Anwen and Gideon have definitely grown.

It's been a beautiful Spring out here in Canowindra. We've had lots of rain, and friendly weather. 
Our six lambs have been growing big and fat out on the house block, and our 200 trees are growing up slowly but surely. 

Family event, watching Ben and a friend ''mark' the new lambs'!

In October the kids had their annual, epic, week-long check-ups at Westmead Children's Hospital in Sydney. As always we came back in pieces -especially after learning that all three of the kids have developed varying scoliosis of the spine. And it's a progressive thing. And it will very possibly need surgery in the future. A part of having Muscular Dystrophy..

Our crew. Hospital canteen dinner is a joy after the 6 hour trip down.

Later on, in November, Anwen, Mahalah and Gideon turned nine years old!
There is a definite difference in having a house full of nine year olds, than 8 year olds.
They are growing up fast, into their own unique, determined, and mostly pretty happy, personalities.

Mahalah and Anwen orchestrated a 'ladies' high tea party! 
Ben and Gideon escape to go bush. 

Swimming continues to be an absolute favourite for all three! 

Gideon likes chess- because 'it's like you can really do war'.


In September we took another small step towards our goal, with the soil analysis completed. (So the slab could get engineered, so the slab could get poured..!)
At that time we were told that all going well, the earthworks could potentially start in November..
We celebrated the 'step forward' in this unassuming-looking document!
Before the slab could get poured we needed the roof to be 'engineered', (lengthy building-type explanation ahead), and because we are taking the route of a Complying Development Certificate, (different to a D.A), we need to make sure everything detailed in the paperwork is exactly how we want to build the house, (at the price we want to pay), before we submit the application. (It's harder to make changes later on). 
SO; we wanted to make sure the way we’ve chosen to build is the most cost-effective way, which achieves what we need. 

We were chasing up final quotes to this end, and THEN we received an hugely overpriced quote for the roof structure!
That put a spanner in the works.
We needed to find a better price from a different supplier, or change the design!

Since then, for the last couple of months, we've been working with our building designer, approaching various tradesmen and shed builders, trying to find one that would help us with what we need: a roof!

Just today we may have found someone -but we have no idea when they might provide what we need. The waiting continues... 

LOTS of watching time pass.. 

Regardless of the above, we are VERY grateful to have raised an amazing total so far of $275,000! Thank you to everyone involved! 
And while we have enough funds to make a definite start on the house, we continue to await the completion of all the necessary paperwork. (I'm learning these processes take time.)

Thank you very much to Dick Clarke from Envirotecture, and the many others involved, for their work on our CDC!  
It will get there. At the moment it all seems to be hanging on the roof...

Despite the hold up it's been ESPECIALLY ENCOURAGING how a group of dedicated locals have formed the 'Read Triplets Trust'.

This committee is working towards becoming an incorporated body, and is working towards becoming a registered charity and a 'Deductible Gift Recipient'! The beneficiaries of this Trust are Anwen, Mahalah and Gideon, to provide for their special accommodation, education and medical needs.
I have been absolutely floored by these amazing locals, and the effort they are willing to go to, to create something that could provide for Anwen, Mahalah and Gideon, even after they- or I- have left this earth! Thank you to each of those involved!

A significant meeting of the Read Triplets Trust, on the road towards
 gaining DGR status!

 In the meantime, it's also been greatly encouraging to receive the occasional surprise in the mail, or the random encounter with a generous stranger... but they are other stories..!

Our journey continues...
Thanks so much for joining us!

Jemimah Read xo
on behalf of the kids and Ben!

Friday, 28 August 2015

BEYOND $200K! The First Milestone...

A treat with dad..

Anwen, Mahalah, and Gideon Read are our 8 year old triplets with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy. It's a non-degenerative type, but they will be reliant on power wheelchairs for life. 

Yet, they are 'normal' kids, with a normal life expectancy, and are in Year 3 at our local public school...

Anwen in her standing frame at school...

As most people know, my husband and I are their full-time carers: it's a full-time job! And, although we have some equity in our current little house, we are unable to work much, and have little to loan against. So, as much as our children really need an accessible house that fully enables them, we have been unable to build it on our own.

When we started fundraising in March last year, our initial goal of $200K towards building our 'miracle house' seemed like a huge amount. Instead, in the last year, we have been blown away by the amazing generosity of hundreds of people!

So we are incredibly excited to now announce that we have recently topped this initial target of $200K! This has been boosted lately by the efforts of an incredible group of about 60 Canowindra locals, young and old, who completed the City2Surf in Sydney recently, and raised a massive $40K towards the house! The house funds now stand at approximately $250K-and rising every week! 

Above: the amazing Canowindra team 'Raising a Roof' at the recent City2Surf in Sydney.

We would like to say a huge 'Thank You!' to everyone, throughout all the wider communities towns, and countries, who have helped our family reach this amazing goal! It ensures we can now
start building a completely accessible home for the kids, and get it to a basic lock-up stage.

We have been quite overwhelmed by the support we have received at times. It's given us courage and hope. Anwen, Mahalah and Gideon are excited, and constantly look forward to the things they will be able to do for themselves “when we are in the new house...”

(Above: another amazing community fundraiser. The recent 'monster garage sale' at Springwood, Blue Mountains, which Toni, Mike, and friends from their local church community, organised! They raised over $8K in one day.)

Thanks to the achievement of our initial $200K goal, we are daring to dream about a finished home for the kids, and living in it possibly even sooner than we expected!
But, anyone who has built a house knows, it takes time and money. And lots of both.

We are now looking ahead, praying for more courage and hope, as we face the next target: completing the 'miracle house' to a liveable stage. For this, the next goal is to reach $450K. This will ensure a semi-complete 'fit-out', but without some of the special equipment needed to care for Anwen, Mahalah and Gideon, (i.e. ceiling hoists).
We estimate that a further $100K on top of this will mean that we can begin to live in the 'miracle house', sooner rather than later. This is Stage 1 of the build. 

Once we have completed Stage 1, and are living in the house, we will look towards the Stage 2 of the build, which includes an indoor hydrotherapy pool, to help maintain the kids limited muscle strength. For now though, the priority is Stage 1; completing the main part of the house, and being able to move into it. It would be a dream-come-true if we can be in before winter sets in again, next year.

What to wear on a wet winters day..
For now, we continue to wait for the completion of plans and paperwork required for council approval, and then the earthworks can commence. Stay tuned for that happy day!

Our grateful thanks once again, to everyone who has helped us reach this amazing $200K milestone! We deeply value all the support, prayers and encouragement.
It really does 'take a community to raise a child'.

Jem Read,
on behalf of the family.

P.S- If you are reading this on an IOS device you won't be able to see the 'Donate' button that shows on the full web version.
 If you would like to donate and help us build our 'miracle house' -thank you very much! Head to the web version, or, our account details are:
Bank: NAB Canowindra.
Acc Name: B & J Read Triplets Special Needs.
BSB: 082 500
Acc Number: 396 905 753
Thank you again!

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

An Accessible Adventure: Our Winter Escape!

Canowindra in July is cold. Very cold. 

It is during this season -in the depths of winter- that our little house becomes cramped and tense as we keep the kids indoors for days on end. 

You get good at finding indoor activities...

Being born with Muscular Dystrophy means that your lungs, and the muscles that support them, are weak. Cold weather usually brings respiratory infections. They can be a killer. So we decided it was well worth the effort to plan a get-away. North Queensland is our winter haven!

We spent weeks searching and praying for suitable accessible accommodation that would fit us, then many hours ringing to check and double-check it. So it was with a fair measure of anticipation that we hit the road before dawn one morning, for our Queensland Road-Trip/Migration! 

Whenever we cross the border between NSW and Queensland we immediately feel better. It's a 'coming home' feeling for Benjamin, as he grew up on the wide open plains of south Queensland. Inevitably he winds down the windows and says: "SMELL THAT KIDS?! WE"RE IN QUEENSLAND!" Inevitably they cheer -after a good 10 hours to get there- and inevitably I smile and laugh. The air does seem free-er and warmer. It's a relief. 

This is how we roll, long-haul style!

After a brief stop over at Nan and Pops near Warwick, we headed straight for Hervey Bay on the coast above Brisbane. We miraculously found Koondari Resort online, and I'm so glad we did! They had the most accessible family room I've seen. The kids had a blast roaming over the tropical bushland paths and basketball courts. It was in walking distance to some good things. One day we went for an epic walk down the local 1km long pier, another day we explored the beautiful botanic gardens, and on another we made the effort and carried each of the kids down the 16 steps between them and the shore. It was beautiful to say the least.. They hadn't had sand between their toes for years.  (And yes, Gideon did break his leg just days before we went on holidays. But that's another story!)

After Hervey Bay we headed due north up the coast, via some friends in Bundaberg, and then on to Gladstone (great botanical gardens, not so great cinemas. Again, another story!) 
The day we headed for Mackay we stopped in on one of 3 accessible cave sites in Australia, just past Rockhampton. We discovered Capricorn Caves three years ago, when we first made the migration, and it was still as interesting and exciting an experience for the kids to visit there again. Caves are a special rarity for them..

Heading further north a few more hours, you drive into Sarina, and if the wind is right, you can smell the sugar mill before you see it.  As anyone who has driven through north Queensland knows, vast sugar cane crops line the roads on either side, as far as the eye can see. Sarina sugar mill is one of the big Queensland refineries that processes the local crops. The Sarina Sugar Shed is right next door, a must-see, with an interesting and informative tour. AND, at the end of the tour, the kids get a fairy floss the size of their heads! The definite highlight for our three!

In Sarina we caught up with close family we hadn't seen for years. Aunty Deb and uncle Pete's house is a tropical oasis next to sugar cane fields. The kids roved all over their sprawling lawns with their cousins, just with the odd warning to look out for brown snakes!
Another night we had an impromptu BBQ with aunty Meg and uncle Mark, and afterwards hunted cane toads on their back lawn. Little cousin Emily skilfully rode on Anwen's lap, (much to their mutual delight), while the four kids and aunty Meg roamed around like a hunting pack with the spotlight. It was a nighttime adventure!  

A little further north we got to Mackay, as far north as we would venture this time. After also miraculously finding Potters Oceanside Motel online, it was a delight to stay there, with the very friendly staff going out of their way to accommodate our needs. Mackay was so deliciously warm the girls and I even felt like a swim one afternoon, after a long walk. (Yes, I cheated and hired the free bike for the long walk!)

Our days of living out of a suitcase were limited though, and it was bitter-sweet to head south again.
Coming home to Canowindra was a bit of a shock, after the balmy weather of Mackay. The closer we got to home, the colder the wind, and the darker the heavy clouds. We had come home to the coldest couple of weeks of bitter winter, which saw the first local snow in about 30 years! We kept the kids home from school for a week, but back home in our little warm haven of a house, we were happy. We had traveled about 4,000km, had a good taste of the sun, and let the warmth back into our bones. 

Back home in Canowindra, when the weather finally cleared it was good to get back out on our block again. Two of the ewes surprised us and had their lambs early and they had managed to survive the freezing conditions. The winter rains had come; the grass needed slashing and our 200 baby trees needed rescuing!   

On our block where we will build..
Since then it's been a busy month or so for us Read's.. I think we have only just recovered from holidays, and gotten back into routine. But it was worth it. We have been blessed with only minor ill health this winter, and we are so grateful for it. 

All these long cold months we've had regular conversations as a family on the topic of how different it will be for us all "when we are in the new house"...
It's hard to describe how much we are all looking forward to living in this new home. A home that is well insulated, solar passive and naturally warm; a home with good air quality and no mould; a home that is big enough, and designed well enough to be able to accommodate our family with ease during winter.. A dream-come-true would be to be in this home before winter sets in next year.

How much of a relief it will bring, and how big a difference it will make for our family, is hard to describe with words. It's a feeling which almost makes me cry.
And so we walk on.. 
Thanks so much for sharing the journey with us.

P.S: A full update on the 'miracle house' fundraising coming soon! 

Friday, 19 June 2015

It Really Will Be 'The House That Love Built'

Canowindra to City2Surf, and a Goal in Sight!

So much to tell you, I don't know where to begin! But I have to say straight up: It really will be 'the house that love built'. It has been one incredible, ongoing 'love story'.

The love of friends, family, and complete strangers. The word is spreading, and people from local communities all across NSW, and beyond, are getting behind our family, and our need to build an accessible house for our wheelchair-bound 8 year old triplets. So much love. God knew we couldn't do it on our own.

Since the last update, things have been progressing steadily. Thanks to the generosity of design company 'Envirotecture', our house design is being finalised, and they are completing all the necessary paperwork required for building approval. It's been a long process.
Once the paperwork is approved we'll be looking to start earthworks, hopefully before the winter is out, and then pour the slab. Come summer, we hope the house will be starting to rise from the ground. I have a feeling we have quite a journey ahead of us though!

For a closer look at the plans, head to our Facebook page 'Realising For The Read Triplets'- or just ask!

While we've been waiting, we made the most of a lovely Autumn and planted a variety of over 200 trees along some of the boundaries of our block. We are also so grateful for the help of landscape designer Sally Bourne, who has offered to assist us in creating a beautiful and accessible outdoor environment for our triplets, once the house is built!
Family tree planting day! The kids loved helping.

Ben and Gideon 

It has been so encouraging for our whole family to constantly see donations coming in. We often tell the kids the details and they are amazed. Yesterday the house fund was at $137,500. Then we were stunned by an anonymous donor giving a whopping $50k. The total suddenly is now at $187,500, (not including donations-in-kind), and we are a mere $13k from our initial target of $200k! Hooray! Thank you! 

It's been just amazing. One continuous story of love and hope.. But the story is far from being over. 
We are so grateful to almost be at our initial goal of $200k, a figure we decided on in the beginning as a minimum 'starting amount'. Actually the total cost of building this accessible home for Anwen, Mahalah and Gideon could be triple this amount. 
At this stage we really don't know how it will pan out. Speaking openly, we have some equity to borrow against if we have to, but the maximum we can reasonably borrow is just less than $200k, and having a substantial loan on a minimal income is not a great idea. Even then, we would still be about another $200k short, give or take. 
It really is a 'faith journey', not knowing exactly how things will pan out, but we have a strong hope it will turn out. We believe it's what we need to do for Anwen, Mahalah and Gideon, in helping them grow into confident and independent individuals. 

Picnic lunch on block in early June.

Very recently, an exciting development has occurred which could significantly help us on that journey. A number of dedicated Canowindra residents have formed a fundraising group, committed to assisting Anwen, Mahalah and Gideon, and helping to realise the goal of their accessible 'miracle house'! 
They are entering a group of walkers/runners in the upcoming City2Surf, on Sunday the 9th of August, and are aiming to have 100 entrants in their team, who each fundraise a certain amount to take part. So far they have about 50 interested people, and are looking for any 'expressions of interest' from anyone wishing to join team 'Raisingaroof4readtriplets'. It sounds like a fun day out!
If you would like to be involved please register your interest by contacting Anne Ward via email:, or messaging her on Facebook.

Big or little, we deeply appreciate all of the many and various help given by everyone. It has meant solid steps toward the reality of a very large dream for Anwen, Mahalah and Gideon. So thank you.

Follow our ongoing story, as it unfolds week to week, by 'liking' our Facebook page: 'Realising For The Read Triplets'.
For enquiries, or donations-in-kind contact Jemimah at:

Online donations can be made by clicking the 'Donate' button at the top right of this page, or the direct details are:
Bank: Canowindra NAB
Name: B & J Read Triplets Special Needs
BSB: 082-500
Acc: 39-690-5753

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Getting There- But Help Still Needed!

Our Triplets Accessible 'Miracle House' Is Slowly Being Birthed.. But Help Is Still Needed To Build It!


out on our block

The house plans are in the final stages and a surveyor is on the job. We have been busy with sheep and fencing, and we are getting ready to plant boundary screens... 

Yet, as most of you know, Ben and I -being full time carers, with limited income and assets- could not possibly afford to build this large, purpose built house on our own.. 

So we've been fundraising to help make this house a reality!  Over the last 12 months a variety of generous people have contributed an amazing total so far of $123,660! This will be such a help! We are so grateful! But the finances still fall short of what is needed to complete the house. We need help.

-With a credit card: click the 'Donate' button at the top right of this blog.
-With direct deposit: our bank details are; 
Acc Name- 'Read Triplets Special Needs', 
Bank- NAB Canowindra, 
BSB- 082 500, 
Acc No- 396 905 753
-With 'donations in kind' or other assistance, contact us via email: 

Thank you! Every little bit directly helps build the house! 

SHARING: an easy, practical way you can help:

The kids recently helped us make a 3min clip designed to spread and share with all our friends. It's basically our story in a tasty nutshell.  Here is the link to it! 

I figured if our friends could share it with their friends, and their friends shared it with their friends, and so on, who knows where, and who, God could take our story to?! Who knows what could happen?! 

The reality is we need help, and we need to put our story out there. We hope and pray that people might respond.. It's humbling and difficult, but we're trusting that good can come out of it- that it blesses people, as much or more than we are blessed by them!

So check out the interesting 3min clip below, and please consider sharing this with as many of your friends, family and contacts as you can. We really appreciate your help. (Here is the link again: Young Triplets In Need )

With Hope, Love and Faith,
Jem Read
(On behalf of Benjamin, and Anwen, Mahalah and Gideon). 

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Building the Miracle House in 2015?

January is growing old and 2015 is definitely here. Unfortunately, it seems like it's time to shake off the holiday sloth and get back to everyday life..! 

Hot holiday afternoons inside..

What are your goals for 2015? 

Ours are simple: care for our three rambunctious wheelchair-bound 8 year olds, hold onto each other, oh, and build a fully accessible house. 

A noisy game of 'rounding up the (pink) sheep'!

Update on the 'Miracle House' project:

So far we have about $82,000 in donations in the Miracle House account, and about $25,000 in pledged building products. 

Our initial estimated fundraising goal is $200,000; although this could change depending on costs, and whether we can get a loan to cover the remaining cost of building.

We have been very blessed to have building designer Dick Clarke from Envirotecture donating his efforts to draw up plans for our difficult design brief. Recently we agreed on some preliminary plans which will fit our three kids, wheelchairs and all, and their long term special needs. We love Dicks work and we are excited to see the new house taking shape- on paper at least! 

Taking shape! (North is top of page, LDK: lounge, dining, kitchen. G: guest, ST: study, L2: 2nd lounge/kids space. All sized carefully to be completely accessible. Stage 2 is an indoor therapy pool.)

On our new block- one day the house will be in the distance behind us!

The next steps will involve getting ready to build! We hope to start building by June, but we would like to be closer to our fundraising goal before we embark on this massive project.

What do you hope to see when you look back on 2015 this time next year? 

As well as looking back on a year of deepening growth and love, we hope to look back on a year where we were able to build a house where our children are able to move freely, without feeling like they are constantly in the way. 

Wheelchair inflicted damage is common in our tight house.

Where do you hope to be this time next year? 

We dream of being in a home that fits our kids and enables them to grow in confidence and independence, a blessing to others.

We hope 2015 is a good one for you too! 

We'd love for you to get involved in our adventure this year, simply by sharing our story with others, (perhaps by sharing this blog link). Or join our journey by visiting our new Facebook page, 'Realising For The Read Triplets' 
We'd love to hear from you! 

Thanks so much to all those who have already shared and helped us out so generously- bless you!

PS: For those interested in promoting our cause in a more intentional way, I can post a handful of A6 postcards, printed with the above photo of us on our block, as well as all the necessary details about the 'miracle house' project printed on the backs! Simply comment below and I will be in touch.

Thanks again, we are very grateful to everyone involved in this 'barn raising'! xo