Graphic: OT RFDS

A new lease on life

Date published

18 Aug 2021

An outback SA resident has been given a new lease on life through the support of the Flying Doctor’s new Occupational Therapist.

Anton Williams lives with cerebral palsy. The 32-year-old has navigated much of his life in a manual wheelchair and has faced lifelong challenges with sleeping and showering due to his limited mobility.

Earlier this year, Anton connected with Tiarne Saunders, the newest member of the RFDS Port Augusta Primary Health Service and its first qualified Occupational Therapist.

Tiarne was able to guide Anton through multiple physical and home assessments from his house in Yalata, an Aboriginal community located 200 kilometres west of Ceduna.

Tiarne also completed his application for support through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).


This month, Anton secured a power wheelchair and wasted no time in testing its capabilities around the Yalata community.

He was also provided with an adjustable bed with a pressure-relieving mattress and a shower commode, effectively ensuring he will no longer need to sleep or shower on the floor.

“Often, lack of access can have a real impact on people’s health and their ability to complete meaningful daily activities,” Tiarne said.

“Working with Anton has been a highlight of my time so far at the RFDS. By offering the appropriate expertise, assessments and advocacy, we can truly change a person’s life.

“Anton's function has improved and through his increased mobility, he is integrating and participating in community life, which is doing wonders for his mental wellbeing.

“He has not stopped smiling since the wheelchair arrived and is very proud to show it off.”

Tiarne left her NSW hometown of Inverell last year to join RFDS primary health team at Port Augusta Base. She complements the Flying Doctor’s existing team of midwives, mental health clinicians, dentists, Rural Generalists and chronic disease specialists.

Click below to meet Tiarne and learn more about her new role with the RFDS: