Laura Boyd is your typical 26-year-old.
She loves concerts, shopping and trashy magazines, but unlike most 26-year-olds, Laura cannot move or talk after suffering a stroke in 2007.
The former Nowra Anglican College student had her first stroke at age 15 but went on to make an almost complete recovery, buying a car, passing her driver's license and celebrating early entry into an computers Ebusiness degree at the University of Wollongong.
But four days after finishing her last HSC exam, Laura suffered a massive stroke that changed her world.
While she understands everything, her body lets her down and since 2008 Laura has been living at Clelland Lodge aged care in Nowra, due to her high care needs.
At the moment her only means of communication is through looking at your left hand for yes and right hand for no, but a life-changing technology could be about to change that.
“She really inspires you and I just think if she can be happy everyday, what do we have to complain about?-Cathy Boyd
“We’re trialling a device called Tellus 5 Eye Gaze technology, which uses a program called Grid 3. It’s like an Ipad in front of Laura that calibrates Laura's eyes to the screen by way of a camera," Laura’s mum Cathy Boyd said.
“It open up little cells with words and phrases in them and when Laura looks at a cell it speaks for her.”
The Tellus 5 will also allow Laura to be in charge of her environment, from changing the television station to buzzing for a nurse. Keeping in touch with her friends will also be easier, with Laura able to use Facebook and email through the system.
Just trialling the equipment comes at a cost of $1800 to Laura’s family and at $20,000 to purchase, the technology is out of reach.
The Shoalhaven King of the Mountain running festival has teamed up with NSW Running Athletics and will be donating part of the entry fees towards purchasing the Eye Gaze technology.
The 2km, 5km, 10km and 25km event will be held on Sunday, May 22 at Kangaroo Valley Golf and Country Resort.
Living Care employees will be taking part and anyone wanting to participate can sign up at www.runnewsouthwales.com.au under Living Care- Run for Laura.
For a young woman who excelled in English, topped her year 11 class in I.T and impressed as a public speaker, Cathy said the device will open up Laura’s world.
“It will just be a huge thing for her and for us, it will really change everything,” Cathy said.
While it’s not known what caused Laura’s stroke, she hasn’t let it take over her life.
“It will just be a huge thing for her and for us, it will really change everything.- Cathy Boyd
A dedicated Sydney Hotshots fan, Laura racked up enough concert visits last year to make anyone jealous, including one of Taylor Swift's coveted Australian performances.
She catches up on all the latest films at the movies, doesn’t miss a good shopping bargain and makes sure to keep up with the Kardashians with a regular flick through Famous magazine.
Every Sunday she calls the shots on where her and her parents, along with her brothers head for a family day out.
With her infectious smile and positive attitude, Cathy said Laura’s proved to be an inspiration for many.
“She really inspires you and I just think if she can be happy everyday, what do we have to complain about?”