Olivia Sheen, the mother of a severely disabled Canberra-born seven-year-old, said the new car she won on Wednesday night would be life changing.
Her son Elliott has a rare condition called Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, weighs just 13 kilograms, and is unable to walk or talk.
Ms Sheen entered a competition where the public voted on who should win a new Toyota Kluger, and a Facebook page called Vote 4 Elliott collected more than 9000 members in less than two weeks.
Ms Sheen said she entered the competition because her car could not fit Elliott’s wheelchair and had no air-conditioning, and winning would make a huge difference in both their lives.
“[Elliott is] at greater risk of developing scoliosis if his spine isn’t supported well enough, so he really needs his chair when he’s out and about, he’s had a wheelchair for just over a year now but I have to leave it at school because I can’t fit it in my car,” she said.
“For me it will be a whole lot less lifting and twisting into this small car, and carrying, I’ll be able to just wheel him straight in and tie him down, and air conditioning will be fantastic,” she said.
She got into the final round of the competition after telling this "road trip" story.
"We drove from Canberra to Melbourne in our Toyota Cressida on a 45-degree day. [Elliott] is severely disabled and all truck stops were packed out, leaving nowhere to park or anywhere for him to lie and rehydrate. I had to take him to the bush. MOST STRESSFUL DRIVE ANYWHERE."
On Thursday Ms Sheen expressed her gratitude to everyone who voted for her in the competition.
“I have really supportive friends and family in the first place, and I know that our story is a tough one, but there’s a lot of love in it as well, but there’s no way I expected nine and a half thousand people to be completely touched and over the moon… it is really, really lovely for me to be part of it, to have seen it’s brought out the best in people,” she said.
She said she celebrated the win quietly with a friend on Wednesday, and was looking forward to choosing a colour for her new car and picking it up within the next few weeks.