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Wheels in motion

Opinion

Wheels in motion

Ashley Robinson says a last-minute call to MC a charity event for the Sunshine Coast marathon has inspired him to do better.

The Sunshine Coast Marathon was a huge success and because the start and finish is at Alex I see a fair bit of what goes into organising it, as well as the performances by all involved.

On the Friday before, the lovely ladies from Zonta put on a charity lunch to support the marathon and Rise to the Challenge, a charity supporting domestic violence victims.

Rosanna Natoli was the MC but due to personal circumstances, could not attend. Simply due to the convenience factor, I got the gig.

Well not exactly… they rang Caroline Hutchinson first, but it was her birthday so she told them to ring me.

So there you have it. I digress.

Leading up to the event, I was asked to find a wheelchair ramp for the stage for guest Natasha Price who is a wheelchair marathoner. Eventually I tracked one down. It cost $500, which in my opinion was far too expensive. The required length also made it nearly impossible to fit. I couldn’t find an alternative so it was decided there would be no stage.

It was all going well until Tash spoke and, of course, only the people in the front could see her. I sat and listened to her stunning story of courage, feeling smaller and smaller with every incredible word.

I have always thought I was an advocate given my more than two decades of work with the Nambour and Currimundi special schools. It seems I haven’t been paying enough attention – until now.

Tash spoke about how she and business partner Adam Shepherd help others via their organisation, InvincAble, which supports people with disabilities to achieve their goals.

It was never more obvious to me that we take our mobility for granted and do the reverse for those that need it.

I think it is best summed up by Stella Young, comedian, journalist and activist:

“I do not identify as a person with a disability. I’m a disabled person. And I’ll be a monkey’s disabled uncle if I’m going to apologise for that. My disability exists not because I use a wheelchair, but because the broader environment isn’t accessible.”

I pledge to do better.

mm

Ashley Robinson is the manager of Alex Surf Club and the chairman of the Sunshine Coast Falcons.

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