Family put house on sale after 7-year struggle to install lift for daughter with disability

Unequal battle with bureaucracy ends with home offered at $23 million

Catrin, Rhian, Richard and Kim

Kim and Richard Anderson have put their Nam Wai house on the market after seven years of struggle with the government over an external lift for their daughter who has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair.

Catrin, 16, was deprived of oxygen during birth, developed cerebral palsy and has minimal control of her body, Kim said.  She is a happy teenager with good cognition, but can communicate only with her eyes. “Catrin is learning to express herself with an eye-control computer.”

She went through primary school at Clearwater Bay School and is now in the learning support class at KGV.

“Catrin is dependent on the help of others 24/7,” Kim said. “Catrin needs a lot of equipment. She has a hoist, two wheelchairs and a standing frame plus equipment for showering.” The family employs two helpers to look after their daughter.

Kim and Richard bought and renovated the house seven years ago to ensure Catrin’s needs were catered for. They tried to get government permission to install an external lift. “We approached the Lands Department and the Buildings Department. Neither would approve the request. An internal lift is too costly now.”

They were told by officials to fit out the ground floor for Catrin.  “This really upset us,” Kim said. “She should be fully part of our family and not isolated on one floor.”

Recently the Andersons decided to give up on the unequal struggle with bureaucracy. Their village house is up for sale at $23 million. “We’ll move somewhere else which better meets Catrin’s needs.” They would prefer to stay in Sai Kung or Clearwater Bay.

The family will remain in Hong Kong for a few more years. They may then have to move to England where there are more options for post-school education and work for Catrin.

She has a 17-year-old sister, Rhian, soon to take IB exams in her final year at KGV School.

“Catrin writes poetry, attends Sacred Heart Church in Sai Kung and has had work experience as an assistant in CWB primary school,” Kim said. “You can engage with her well once you see past the disability. She has a wicked sense of humour and loves being out and about in the community.”

The Andersons are well known in Sai Kung and Clearwater Bay, having lived here for over 20 years. 

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