With only a few weeks before TLC, we are delighted to announce that multiple Paralympic gold medal winner Kurt Fearnley will deliver a keynote on the closing day of the conference, sharing his experiences and thoughts on what enablement means to him as one of Australia’s best-known and respected athletes.
Born without the lower portion of his spine, Kurt grew up with his four siblings in the small western New South Wales town of Carcoar, where sport was always a large part of his family’s life. It was never a case of simply sitting on the sidelines watching, Fearnley has always been willing to have a go at anything and he readily played in everything against his able-bodied brothers and friends.
When Kurt was 14, he took up wheelchair racing, after having seen the sport on the television with athletes competing in the Oz Day 10km race in Sydney. Looking at wheelchair racers taking the stage in one of the most beautiful venues in world sport, he knew immediately that was where he wanted to be, as an athlete on that start line, and it is that dogged spirit that has taken him there and much further since.
Kurt’s sporting achievements are numerous, including 35 wheelchair marathon wins and 15 podium finishes in 10 countries on five continents over 20 years. Whilst Kurt has achieved world champion status in wheelchair racing, he has also excelled off the racing circuit with advocacy work for people with disabilities. Representing a number of organisations as a board member and patron, he is an ambassador for the Day of Difference Foundation and for the International Day of People with a Disability. In June 2018, he was given the honour of being named an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).
Kurt has worked hard to be a role model for inclusion and social change, and to bring attention to how sport can promote inclusion in all areas of life for people with disabilities. As a member of the Independent Advisory Council for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Kurt believes Australia is starting to move in the right direction to enable people with disabilities and provide fairness, facilitation, choice and inclusion.
For more information about TLC ANZ 2018 or to register please visit http://bbtlcanz.com/tlcanz/register/