I was just 20 in 2006 — a young plumbing apprentice, when I contracted encephalitis which resulted an Acquired Brain Injury. A remarkable surgery was performed where ¾ of my skull was removed and put back months later. I survived surgery but suffered a stroke which affected my sight, leaving me with no peripheral vision I have also suffered from seizures as part of my brain injury and I have short term memory loss but have learned skills on taking time to stop and think.
Before my illness, I was a fit and healthy young man who loved sport, especially water skiing. There were moments when I had no self-esteem and was very depressed. Through rehabilitation I have made it through difficult times. My journey towards full recovery was also in part due to my dad Brock’s support, taking fulltime off work for 2 years to care for me at home. Family support as well as rehabilitation sessions, sessions with my trainer at the gym, and case management as part of the support network helped me back on my feet again. When I became more independent, my dad decided it was time for him to go back to work. In the meantime, I studied TAFE pursuing a Barista course and worked at a local milk bar part time. I love my coffee! Seeing a brighter future, my stint working at UCAN at Yooralla, a social enterprise café set me in the right direction. It was here where I showed that people with a disability can work and live a normal life.
I have been playing blind soccer for 5 years. I like to go water skiing up at Tocumwal, my family has a caravan there and we enjoy family time and camping up there.
I have a four-and-a-half-year-old baby girl and I’m looking for a new job now I have my epilepsy under control.
I believe disability should not be a hindrance to succeed. He firmly believes he needed to get on with life. I really enjoy my speaker gigs with Speakers Bank. I like to get the word out on what it’s like to live with a disability. I want people to judge a person not their disability. A lot of people judge the disability and not the person. Every disability is individual.
Never take life for granted, because you don’t know what’s around the corner!
For more information about us please contact Speakers Bank’s Project Officer on 03 9314 0988.
Watch Aaron’s video: