Learner's permit issued to DMD sufferer for first time

HIGH-BEAM GRIN: MacKinley Brisbane was thrilled after his first driving lesson.
HIGH-BEAM GRIN: MacKinley Brisbane was thrilled after his first driving lesson. Contributed

LEARNING to drive is one of life's greatest moments, but for MacKinley Brisbane getting the keys to his first set of wheels was even more exciting.

The Glasshouse Mountains teenager has Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) - a life-limiting neuromuscular condition - and enjoys the ride of his life each time he gets behind the wheel of his converted vehicle.

The 17-year-old is thought to be the only person with DMD in Australia to get a learner's permit.

While MacKinley sailed through his first driving lesson, his mother Lauren admitted to being nervous.

"Thanks to MacKinley's hard work and determination he is still walking, which is amazing in itself," Mrs Brisbane said.

"So the fact he can actually drive a car is a surprise after the surprise, and you get a kick out of it as that's not what you expected to happen.

"It was one of those priceless moments in life, seeing MacKinley getting out of the car after his first driving lesson with a huge grin."

The Glasshouse Country Christian College student recently graduated from Year 12 and has completed two semesters at Sunshine Coast University in the Headstart Program.

"MacKinley has always been a really gutsy person," his proud mother said.

"If you asked him why he is so determined, he would say it's because he wants to stay on his feet.

"To do that, he gets on the treadmill and exercises and stretches every day, watches his diet closely and has lost 7kg to help with mobility."

MacKinley also enjoys photography and often joins his father Peter on expeditions for that perfect shot.

Mrs Brisbane said MacKinley would not be as healthy without the support of MontroseAccess.

"He was diagnosed at age two and we were referred to MontroseAccess immediately," she said. "Unless you have that early inter-vention, you are on the back foot."

Mrs Brisbane said MacKinley had taught her a lot of things about herself.

"You don't take anything for granted. You get pleasure in the smallest things, as you should."

Topics:  driving

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