I have worked in a few different areas in my life, but I had no idea that there was a job I would like so much that it doesn’t feel like work. I have worked in IT, heavy manufacturing, retail, employment and training to name a few. Now, as a business Development Manager at The Disability Trust, every day I get to be around people who inspire, who excite, who challenge, and who are real.
I am the Editor of the monthly newsletter at The Disability Trust, called Your Voice, Your Choice. It is twelve pages long, with a section for local Illawarra and Shoalhaven news with events, classes, programs and so on, for those areas. We also have a section for state, federal and international issues and topics. The current and past editions are available to read online.
In our October edition we featured chairskating, which is a sport in which people using wheelchairs have fun at skate parks. That’s right, dropping into bowls, hand plants, you name it, they are doing it. We featured chairskater Aaron Fotheringham, who is travelling with the Nitro Circus in March and April next year around Australia. Aaron goes on the huge ramps and does backflips off the ramp in his wheelchair, here is a video of him doing a backflip.
In our most recent newsletter we featured Harvey from South West Victoria. As part of my research I spoke to Colleen, a producer on the ABC who worked with Harvey’s mum, Kylie, to put together a blog and short film about Harvey and his life, including his big trip to America to hang out with other chairskaters. The blog gives an excellent idea of Kylie’s efforts and thoughts to ensure her son goes after his dreams. The blogs and short film are available to view online.
I have two young boys of my own who are just starting to get interested in skating. We go to the local skate parks and they enjoy tearing around on their scooters and trikes. I am not yet comfortable with them taking their skateboards there yet, I think they need to get more practice before they do. I can imagine if I turned up with one of my sons in a wheelchair the kids would look at me weirdly, but the parents would think I was being dangerous. What would you think?
Yet Kylie did this, and loved it so much the journey took them to America and to an event where there were heaps of people chair skating, from all over the world. In my view, it takes a very special parent of a child with a disability who is brave enough to remove some of their child’s ‘cotton wool’ so they can have a full life. Kylie hasn’t just seen through the disability, she just sees what her son can do.
Kylie is doing this because she passionately believes in her son. The amount of work required to do the activities Harvey enjoys is massive, yet Kylie does it anyway. How inspiring is that? I hope I can be half the parent Kylie is to Harvey for my two boys.
For me, I still can’t believe I get paid to meet and do things with people like Kylie. When I left school I had no idea these jobs existed. I am really glad, and really lucky, to have found a job that gives me the opportunity to really love what I am doing.