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elcome to the very first Livewire Magazine, a mag made up entirely of content by Livewire members! To get the ball rolling, we asked Livewire’s awesome and inspiring members to express how humour, imagination and strength play a part in dealing with illness or disability. Inside these pages you’ll find stories, puzzles, art, poetry and more, all created by our seriously talented and creative Livewire members. This magazine showcases what Livewire is all about— inspiration, connection and belonging. Thanks to all the Livewire members who let us share their pieces, and thanks for making Livewire the fun, supportive and positive place that it is! Have fun reading! The Livewire Chat Hosts

ivewire Members is a FREE and fun online community for young people living with a serious illness, chronic health condition or disability. It’s a safe and supportive space for them to hang out, make friends, gain peer support, share experiences with people who understand and have fun. Livewire Members is jam-packed with fun features including blogs, chat rooms, forums, music videos, articles, video clips and games. Livewire even runs competitions, quizzes and hosts celebrity chat guests! Livewire has also introduced two other communities for siblings – Livewire Siblings – and parents – Livewire Parents. These communities allow family members caring for someone living with a serious illness or disability to share experiences, gain support and express themselves in a safe and accepting environment. Published on behalf of Livewire by Engage Custom Media, Suite 408, The Cooperage, 56 Bowman Street Pyrmont NSW 2009. Ph: 02-9660 6995, web: Art Direction: Tim Donnellan


4. The window of imagination 5. Travelling on 6. The Wolf 7. Where 7. Unstoppable

8. Making the choice 9. Laughter is the best medicine 11. Strong 12. Haikus 13. Members gallerys

14. Rattlers 16. Livewire 16. What’s that word 17. Cloaks 17. All about teachers

Meet the team: 18. Who are the faces behind the screen? 19. Get into Livewire

Photo contributions by caramelmango and dancer_girl


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ango By caramelm


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By Heather

These wheels roll round and round and round

Across the dirty, dusty ground

Forever chugging on and on

The things I’ve left behind are gone

I’m maybe on to a better life And maybe on to trouble and strife

I don’t know what’s ahead of me Be good or bad–we’ll all soon see

The track ahead is hidden and dark The mist and fog help hide the path

But I could not stay standing still

Not then – I know I never will Because my future shines too bright

To not travel into the light.

“Many people don’t understand how you can become friends with someone you have never met. But when you have shared so many highs and lows together the fact you have never met in person is irrelevant. In that moment when we are all laughing, chatting and joking together, nothing else matters. Livewire has given me the most precious gift. The gift of being a teenager.” – Jess--


On dealing with chronic illness

I found them near the forest edge had The Wolf hard on my tail They needed not enter the thick hedge It struck me down when I was frail We formed a line within the trees The thick sheep’s clothing hid it well I thought what brave sweet friends are these When I had looked, I couldn’t tell Who stand beside me hand in hand Not the creeping stride or hiding eyes While The Wolf’s dark threat still stands I had no clue, took by surprise And in our group we held the key But The Wolf, it found me on the bend To crush the woods and set me free Away from anything I had to defend It took some time but the woods rolled back Out in the open with no brick wall And The Wolf alone could not attack To rely on so as not to fall Out in the open it looked around The wolf he huffed and puffed and blew Now me and it were on even ground He kept on blowing through and through There was no retreat or epic fight I had no chance to catch my breath My footing lost from the first step We both stepped forward into the light And falling into the woods with fear And hand to paw The Wolf and I I knew The Wolf could find me here Found acceptance and said goodbye It was his element, not mine To the distress and pain that left a stain These thick dark trees were all unkind In becoming friends we had more to gain Each place I found to rest a while Smiling, I took The Wolf under wing Would soon be found; I’d left a trail. And we walked away, hand in hand to sing No rest for days while the wind did blow Of the promises in the road ahead Yet I was tired and feeling low Free of any prior dread But still The Wolf would not let up There was so much to explore Bit at my heels each time I stopped All once steeped deep in lore And so I kept on running still Here was where hope and love did reign Not giving The Wolf his cunning thrill All laid out for us to claim I refused to stop running, not of pride But I didn’t like the other side Walk we did, now free of strife This is not how my fairytale ends Into the blissfulness For The Wolf didn’t realise I had friends. And beauty of life.

By Tamaryn


“I like Livewire a lot because it is a bit of a family. There’s an immediate sense of togetherness because even if we don’t say it, we all have something in common. That means you don’t have to hide anything and aren’t alienated like you are around other kids.”

You know you’re sick when: Most of the clothes you own are pyjamas

– Tamaryn

Unstoppable. Where feet can’t travel, a mind can wander Where a wheelchair can’t wheel, a dream can explore Where a doctor can’t operate, a paintbrush can paint Where life can’t take you, a good book can Where pain holds you back, laughter sets you free Where fear creates chains, a pen can unlock them Where anger can hurt you, hope lets you fly Where it feels like the future’s dark, friends can shed a light By rauu

You know you’re sick when: All the Miss Universe contestants want world peace. If you were Miss Universe you would want a new car park system at the RCH.

I have no legs but I am strong I crawl a million miles long I am unstoppable I have a quest it is filled with danger but I take the track of Kokoda with my hands I will climb despite the many hazards and I will accomplish my goal because I am unstoppable the temperature will soar the steamy jungles will surround me and I will climb higher and higher because I am strong because I can and have faced odds because I am unstoppable By Tazza98


Karen West was a 23 year old voluntary nurse for Frontier Medical Australia or FMA for short, She had just boarded a military plane bound for Kabul, Afghanistan’s crumbling capital unaware that her life was about to change forever. Afadeo Mah-Aljid was a 5 year old boy who had seen more violence in his short life than a kid from a stabilised nation would see in his lifetime. Afadeo called a half destroyed building home which he shared with other youngsters along with the occasional rat or two. His family had all been tragically killed in a roadside bomb attack. Karen knew the danger which lay ahead, FMA’s aim was to deliver medical supplies to a skeleton hospital which was practically blown to smithereens from the fighting. Once on the ground FMA’s mobile unit would be escorted by Australian troops to the hospital. The convoy bumped its way down a crater stricken road, remnants of shell fragments still remained in some places and were considered among local Afghan’s highly priced scrap. Afadeo was resting in a building with no roof. He was stirred by the sound of engines, and fearing it might be the Taliban looking for young recruits, he dashed out,


only to be nearly run over by a UN vehicle. The 4wd stopped just as the sky came alive with gunfire. Karen saw a little boy in front of the 4x4. With no consideration for her own safety she dashed out and grabbed him by the hand, helping him into the safety of the 4wd. As the convoy took off with speed; it was the start of a strong bond between the pair.

Once the FMA had finished their duties at the heavily destroyed hospital, they were whisked away to the nearby Australian Base where a Black hawk helicopter was waiting to ferry them to Islamabad, Pakistan. Karen made a few phone calls regarding the guardianship of Afadeo. Using her medical files she was able to fast track through the red tape of paperwork and on arrival in Melbourne she would be able to sign a Federal government form and after that Afadeo would legally be her son. While Afadeo was occupied playing with his car on the terminal floor Karen signed the Federal document that declared she

was now the legal guardian of Afadeo, before they left the terminal building Karen had a small unit in Camberwell. Whilst en route to her home, Karen practiced a couple more English phrases with Afadeo. So far Afadeo could say “Hello, Thank you, Please and No”. They pulled into her driveway. Whilst going through Melbourne Karen had pointed out a couple of famous landmarks such as Federation Square, the MCG and the new Ferris wheel which had recently sprung up. Karen unlocked the front door and Afadeo’s eyes almost bulged out of his head. He had never seen in his short life such extraordinary things that most Western people took for granted TV, lounge , table and chairs, he was even more amazed when Karen flicked a switch and the light came on. Afadeo was overjoyed when he turned a tap and water came out, once Karen had unpacked she started to pre-pare tea he watched in fascination as Karen chopped up vegetables and retrieved some rice out of the pantry. They sat down at the kitchen table for tea, Afadeo tried a bit of rice, Karen waited for his response he giggled with delight it tasted nice, it had been Karen’s special ingredient that did the trick. continued on page 10

truly is the best medicine. By -OliviaWhen you are ill there are just not as many things to laugh about as before. You are in pain, or a lot of discomfort. Things just aren’t as funny as they used to be. But there is something that always makes me laugh - thinking about all my experiences in the hospital! Things that then would have seemed horrible are a big joke now! My mum and I are always talking about all the things that I have done, seen, and heard while being in the hospital! It always makes us both laugh so hard, that our sides hurt. You always feel better after having a good laugh! I remember the time that I was in a hospital room with six beds. My mum and I were busy watching some TV, when the family of a girl in one of the other beds arrived. She had a huge family!!! Every day four or five of them would come and visit her. They were very loud, and talked about the other family members, how this one did this, or that one did that. My mom and I tried not to listen, but they talked so loud, that everyone in the room could hear them. Then I told my mum, If we can hear all their business, then they can always hear all ours!!! I don’t know why that was so funny, but it was, and once we had started to laugh, we couldn’t stop! We laughed so hard, for so long, I am sure everyone else in the room was looking at us, and thinking that we were crazy! Another thing that makes me laugh is thinking about those beautiful hospital gowns they give us to wear before an procedure. Or the delicious hospital food they bring to us on a platter. How lucky are we to get breakfast in bed every day! The wonderful fried eggs that taste like rubber, or the unflavoured mash! What wonderful memories we all have to laugh about!

“Livewire has been amazing, everyone on there is so comforting and it’s nice because in one way or another were all the same and we can all relate to each other. I thank Livewire for this.” – Jessie


After dinner, Karen went over in Dari the house rules and the boundaries, Karen was lucky enough to live near a park which had a playground so Afadeo would be kept fully occupied. Soon it was time for bed Karen read Afadeo a story before tucking him in and kissing him goodnight Afadeo was dreaming, he was back in Afghanistan People were happy , smiling as they did their shopping at the market place, suddenly the air was alive with gunfire, people were screaming and running in every direction as insurgents wrecked terror among innocent civilians , he sprung up in bed panting he look around at his surroundings they didn’t look familiar ‘ma-ma ma-ma” he whimpered, Karen who happened to be awake at the time heard Afadeo crying she rushed down to his room, she embraced him patting away his sobs that were raking his body ,“shhh, shhh, Its ok Ma-Ma’s here ,Ma-Ma’s here” she comforted him. The next day they decided to go to a nearby park. Karen thought, this was the perfect opportunity to introduce some new people to Afadeo, she had called her best friend Anna on her mobile who just so happened to have a son called Sam with her partner


Tom, to come and join them at the park. The new arrivals reached the park and approached them; the night before via phone Anna had consoled Karen that the worst that could happen would be Afadeo hiding behind her like a newborn baby lamb. Karen nervously waited for Afadeo’s response and was surprised when he went running up to them, Karen wondered if it was the security of her being there or just nature taking its course. After introductions were made Afadeo and Sam went off to have a kick of the soccer ball which Sam had brought with him, the pair were soon the best of friends much to the delight of the overjoyed Karen.

On the way home Afadeo turned to Karen and said ‘ that was fun when can we do it again?” Karen was amazed at how far Afadeo’s English had come; she smiled and replied “soon my little bundle of joy” Night once again fell over Melbourne and its surrounding suburbs, Karen and Afadeo had just completed reading ‘The Adventures Of Pegsby’, It was one of Afadeo’s favourites even though

he couldn’t quite understand the words he enjoyed looking at the pictures, Karen tucked him in and kissed him goodnight before turning out the light. Once again Afadeo was in Afghanistan, this time on one of the many pot holed roads caused by constant shelling , he saw a couple of boys playing soccer nearby he was just about to join in before BOOM! A roadside bomb went off, a little stream started to trickle down the road towards him. He jerked and awoke panting , he scrambled for the bedroom door but because it was so dark lost his bearings and ran into the wardrobe door ‘BANG’,“MA-MA, MA-MA,-MA-MA” he shrieked, Karen herd his wails through her sleep, tossed the covers aside and sprinted down the hallway to Afadeo’s room. She found him crouched in a ball in front of the wardrobe, she wrapped her arms around him, comforting him , humming a lullaby into his ear which calmed him, before picking him up and taking him back to her bed. It was New Year’s Eve. Sam and Afadeo were racing each other on the slot cars and laughing every time one of the slot cars flipped off. Apart from soccer

continued on page 12

I get asked by so many people how I can be so happy and so strong; I could never think of only one reason because I couldn’t choose which reason was my favorite or which reasons are the main ones. There are so many reasons as to why I’m strong and happy but I have finally figured out which ones are the main ones. They are Family, Friends, Love and Friendship. They are the things that brighten my life. One of the reasons why I love Livewire is because of how nice and caring the people on it are. I have made so many new friends on LW that I wouldn’t be able count my friends because I would lose count or the number would be too long to write down.

“The most special thing about a livewire friend is that they understand what you are going through, they talk to you about their experiences, they try to make you happy when you are sad and they offer lots of advice and support.” – Dancer_girl

Just because people like myself with disabilities can’t do everything others without disabilities can, doesn’t mean we can’t be happy or strong. So if you ever get asked how you can be so happy and so strong, think really hard and think about what makes you smile and that is the true answer.

By Caitlin

You know you’re sick when: You’ve been swimming with a drip in your hand, and have gone down a water slide with a drip in your hand, yelling WOOOOOOOOO and holding your hand in the air When you’re on meds that make you grow hair, you want book week to come up again so you can go dressed as wolverine, and when you’re on chemo and are losing you hair, you want book week to come up again so you can go as golem


Haikus Eagles are the best Except when they are away Their colours fly high By Brody555

Happy times sleeping I’m dreaming about nothing The pain wakes me up By ethanb

You know you’re sick when: You know what morphine does to a person and are still convinced that it was the curtain railing that told you everything’s alright. Your cousins friend takes photos of your meds for an assignment on addictions!!

Afadeo had also taken an interest in car racing thus the fact he liked cars so much, Karen knew a friend of a friend of a friend who was associated with Mark Webber Australia’s very own Formula One driver who happened to be in Melbourne at the time preparing for next year’s Australian Grand Prix which was held in Melbourne, some strings had been pulled and right now he and his F1 car were on their way to make a special guest appearance at the Sleep Over Spectacular! Of course Afadeo was unaware of this. A navy blue truck sporting Red Bull Racing Insignia pulled up outside their house, attracting numerous curiosity from neighbours. There was a knock at the door. Afadeo opened the door. There was a man wearing funny clothes and carrying what looked like a helmet standing outside, Afadeo’s jaw dropped as the mysterious man came into the light —it was Mark Webber! “G’day Afadeo mate, herd you liked racing cars would you like to come and see mine?” asked Mark “yes please’! exclaimed Afadeo. The back of the truck was opened and the sleek F1 car was rolled out


onto the street, by now several heads had popped up at fences and through curtains dumbfounded at what they were seeing! Afadeo gazed in awe at the slender F1 car he had one just like it only much, much smaller.

“Should we fire her up Afadeo”? asked Mark.“Yes please!’ came the reply. Mark climbed into the car and “ZOOM” the car took off down the street with the noise coming from it rattling windows of house windows in the near-vicinity, the noise could be heard as far as Melbourne proper, Mark executed a perfect doughnut at the end of the street and came hurtling back towards them at a slow 170 kmh an hour! But the night still had more surprises to come, Karen’s brother happened to work for the Hyundai A-League team the Melbourne Victory, through him Karen

had organized some of the players to make a guest appearance at the Sleep over Spectacular. Afadeo loved soccer and had recently taken an interest in the team. Once more the doorbell rang, Afadeo ran to the door and answered it to find three men standing outside, one of them had a soccer ball under his arm, “hello Afadeo, herd you liked soccer, I’m Craig Moore the captain of the Melbourne Victory soccer team. Afadeo was gobsmacked; the other two players introduced themselves as Tomoo Matanewie and Reinaldo Asis. the new arrivals made their way inside, by now the house was getting pretty crowded , the neighbours couldn’t believe what they were seeing, some thought someone famous lived in the house! As the hour drew near they started the count down TEN, NINE, EIGHT, SEVEN, SIX, FIVE, FOUR, THREE, TWO, ONE HAPPY NEW YEAR! on cue the midnight fireworks erupted into the sky welcoming in the new year. A year which had in store new challenges, people and lows and highs for Afadeo-Meh-Ajid.

By Catstar

cool artworks e s e th r fo o d bA Thanks to Clu

By Imogen

By Brody555

By Sam-95


Teenagers all belong to their subcultures—but we have our own clubs, gangs and language that bind us together. By Jess– hen you think of teenagers, you think of boys with their hats on the wrong way, girls missing half their skirt, and high school, hangovers and friends. When you see us, you look at us with the “Oh, look at the wounded puppy” look. Not the sort of wounded puppy that is missing one eye, frothing at the mouth, with a serious underbite. More the “golden retriever puppy with a bandage on its paw” look. But we don’t feel sorry for us. We are sick teenagers, but you see it’s not all that bad.

Some of us look completely normal.Take me at the current time, for example. Okay, perhaps I am unusually tall. But if you ignore that, you’re left with blonde hair and bright lipstick that would give Lady Gaga a run for her money. Some of us don’t look like typical teenagers. Some of us are bald. Some of us have tubes. Some of us have wheelchairs. But you see, this isn’t a bad thing. We can draw eyes on the back of our heads and never need to worry about magpie swooping season again. If we have forgotten our instrument to take to music class, we can simply blow into our nasogastric tube, and have a fresh, cutting edge sound which might feature on the next Ministry of Sound. And worried you’re going to be late to your appointment? All we have to do is get a mate, a run up, clear the path, and we will arrive to our destination faster than Usain Bolt. A lot of us take medication too. There are three types of med groups: the Rattlers, the Sharpies and the Gaggers. The Rattlers are aptly named so, for the tablets we take. Available in every colour, ranging from small, to so large, a jaw the size of a common anaconda is required to swallow it. We sound like maracas as we walk, hence the name rattlers. Then there are the Sharpies. Pumps, syringes, pens and IVs. If it’s sharp we use it. Never again do we need to worry about being mugged. No mugger is a match for the EasyTouch pen needle.


Finally the Gaggers. Liquid medications, in fragrances so foul you are sure that the ingredients have been decomposing in a remote cave. We spit, we gag, and we choke. But a bag of sour worm lollies makes it all better. Many people think we miss out on a lot too, because we can’t go to parties, get drunk and take drugs. Oh how wrong they are! We can scull lemon cordial in record time. We compete to see who can swallow the most meds at once. I am the proud title holder, at 14, if you don’t mind. And missing out on reckless driving? Puh-lease. We can do more doughnuts in our wheelchairs, while maneuverings around an IV pole, than normal teenagers ever could in their hotted up utes!

And then there is teenage culture. We have no idea what ‘rank’, ‘dogger’ or ‘lmao’ means. Yet normal teenagers have no idea what LW, hossy and Pred means! Typical teens have piercings, stilettos and Ghanda’s. We have bandanas, bed socks and blue gowns that will surely be in the next issue of Vogue. Usual teens hang with their homies and shop with their girlfriends. We go to the footy with our paediatricians, hit the d-floor with our physios, and play cricket with our nurses. Sure we may look a little different, and live our lives a little differently to yours. But that’s okay, because at the end of the day we are the ones who won’t get swooped by magpies. And we will never be mugged. And we get to have sour worm lollies for breakfast. And you don’t. And little do you know that to us, you seem like the one eyed puppy with the under bite. And that’s all that matters!


Livewire By Tigerz I try and come on Livewire every day. There are heaps of fun things to do: talk, chat, meet, blog, post, join forums and plenty of competitions. What a fun way to spend your day for someone who is need. Like me! I’m a Livewire member who enjoys Livewire more than ever. I have been in hospital lots, and had many drips, and experienced lots of needles a day. I’m an animal lover, that’s for sure. I think about it every day and night. I even dream about it and log on in my head as often as I can. About myself: I have cystic fibrosis and diabetes. I also have a bowel problem. CF, put simply, is a lung disease; diabetes is why I’m on many needles a day. My bowel just doesn’t function mostly, and doesn’t work as fast and as well as it should. I have many ideas to express on Livewire. It’s the best site you can think of!

There are words only we know... can you see them here? CLUE: These answers relate to disabilities.

1.W_ _ _ _ C_ _ _R 2. D_ _ A_ _ _D P_ _K_ _G 3. R_ _L 4. T_ _ C_ _ _’_ A_ _ 5. L_F_ 6. H_ _P_ _ _ L 7. P_ _S_ O

David “If you think about being really sick then you feel sick. If you have something to distract you then you don’t focus on how bad you are feeling. Livewire is a great distraction and a great way of staying in touch with the world when I’m in hospital for really long periods of time.”

8. P_ _R S_ _ P_ _T 9. R_M_ 10. H_ _P

By Coolkid8

Answers: 1. Wheelchair, 2. Disabled parking, 3. Rail, 4. Teacher’s Aid, 5. Lift, 6. Hospital, 7. Physio, 8. Peer Support, 9. Ramp, 10. Help.


What’s That Word?

“I met a girl who has the same condition as me in Livewire. We sort of had the same kind of problem so we helped each other. If you feel blah and you just have to let it all out to someone, someone is there to listen.” – MattyD

You know you’re sick when: A random teacher walks up to you at school in the hallways and goes “hello!!” uh hi....”are you new?”. “i have been here 2 years....”....hahah yeh, awkward

By Brownie People say “aah”, “poor you”, or “ewwwwwwww!!!” They say, “I know what you mean. I know what it feels like. Is it true?” I don’t think so. They don’t know what it means or feels like and never will. We have cloaks that hide everything. The only thing it shows is the physical part. They don’t know how big a deal it is. How much you’ve cried, how much you’ve wished you’ve never lived.

By Nikki Lee Teachers shout, Teachers give detention, Teachers give homework, Teachers are mean, Teachers are good, Teachers are helpful. Well we know that teachers are like this when they are in school, But we don’t know where they shop, Where they go after school. What do they really like to do during their spare time? Are they a shopaholic, Are they a fashionable person, Are they mean to their children like how they are mean to us? Well my point is that we don’t know the real life of a teacher, What they eat, What they do at home. A teachers life is a mystery.

You know you’re sick when: Your little brother wants to be a paediatrician or rheumatologist when he grows up, not just a ‘doctor’

“I can’t walk, I am in a wheelchair. I see others running around and I can’t do it. However the thing I can do is be on Livewire and if Livewire wasn’t there I would have nothing to do.” – Andrewr


Chat hosts The chat hosts are your fun and crazy guides to all things Livewire! When you first jump into the chat room, a chat host will be there to welcome you and show you the ropes. They will introduce you to other members in the chat room and help you explore the community. They are always keen to hear about what you’re up to and comment on blogs, post in forums as well as chat to you in the chat room. The chat hosts are in the community seven days a week to make sure you’re supported and having fun. They also make sure that members behave appropriately and are supportive of each other. If you need help getting around Livewire or have a question in the community, the chat hosts can help.

Livewire editor The Livewire editor makes sure the site is jam packed with the latest news, videos, galleries and music. If you would like to request a playlist, publish an article, upload a video or a gallery; just contact the editor at It’s your community and we want your input!

Community team The community team work behind the scenes to make sure that there is loads to do in Livewire. They organise competitions, quizzes and chat events every week. They give out awesome prizes and sometimes even organise celebrity chat guests! The community team, along with the chat hosts, make sure that everyone is safe and supported in the community.

Contact us! Do you need help registering for Livewire? Have you forgotten your password? Do you need help in the community? If you ever have question, no matter how big or small, contact us at or (02) 8425 5971 (9am to 5pm, AEST, Monday-Friday).


connected d n a d e in ta r keep you ente to s e r tu a fe ll of fun Livewire is sfu. In Livewire you can: with friend ugh similar o r th g in o g e thers who ar o h it w s d n ie fl Make fr ces as you terested in in e ’r u o y ff experien tu t yourself or s u o b a g lo b a er members th o h it w fl Write t a h om to c you like o r ic t p a h to c y e n v a li n fl Join the rum thread o fo a t r ta s r o rum tch cool vids a w fl Post in a fo d n a s e m les, play ga videos ic s u m h tc a fl Read artic w st music and te la e th esome prizes w to a n in w to s fl Liste e z ons and quiz ti ti e p m o c r fl Ente hat guests! c y it r b le e c o fl Chat to t more? Go t

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19 is supported by the Starlight Children’s Foundation

This project was supported by funding from the Australian Government under the Clever Networks Program

Optus is the exclusive telecommunications partner of Livewire. By providing their funding, technology, products and services, Optus is supporting Livewire to help connect and reduce the social isolation of young people living with a serious illness, chronic health condition or disability

Livewire is looking to develop mutually beneďŹ cial partnerships with organisations who share our goal of supporting young people affected by a serious illness or disability and their families. For more information, contact

Livewire magazine was created for Livewire, which is an online chat forum for young people living with a serious illness, a chronic h...

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