Today we acknowledge International Day of People with Disability and the incredible motivation and inspiration shown by NIISQ participants and the millions of Australians with disability by celebrating their contributions and achievements.
We also wanted to introduce you to NIISQ participant Drew (pictured above), and his wonderful smile and fantastic outlook on life.
It wasn’t always this way. Drew has a traumatic brain injury as a result of a serious motor vehicle accident in 2017, which meant a lengthy stay in hospital on the Gold Coast away from his family and friends in Western Australia. His brother Corey vividly remembers the period post-accident where they struggled to understand what this new set of circumstances meant for Drew and whether there was anything available to support them.
“I remember feeling like we were at a loose end,” Corey said, reflecting back on 2017. “We were researching as much as possible, and we came across NIISQ, which was still pretty new back then, and we thought it might be something that could help us.”
Drew was accepted as an interim participant and it has been our honour and privilege to support Drew and his family through his recovery and rehabilitation journey. Working together, we have been able to assist Drew to move back to Western Australia to be with his loved ones and to receive the support he needs. As Corey tells it, in the ensuing years since the accident, his brother has begun to thrive as his support plans and needs are met post-injury.
“He’s going from strength to strength,” he said. “His social and community engagement opportunities have improved his outlook on life and everyone loves to meet with him.
“He has a job now, working at the local recycling shop and his co-workers speak so highly of his dedication to his role – though he loves so many of the things he finds recycled and donated that he likes to buy them and bring them home! He especially loves bringing home different CDs – even though he doesn’t have a CD player at the moment.”
Corey said that the increased activity out in the community, along with a dedicated support team, helped Drew turn the corner after his accident and find his place in the world.
“One of his favourite things to do is be outside, and he has been able to continue his love of surfing and fishing with local disability organisations that support him in his passions,” Corey said.
“It’s been a long road to get here, but you just look at his big smile and it brings joy to know he is out doing things he loves and being part of his community.”
Our huge thanks to Drew, Corey and their family for sharing their story with us. It’s a great example of how working together allowed for an opportunity to create an environment that is accessible and inclusive for people with disability so that everyone has a chance to participate in their community and achieve their goals.
Find out more about this important day, and hear from the 2021 IDPwD ambassadors, including Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM by clicking here.