At Bespoke Lifestyles, we love finding and sharing stories about amazing and accomplished Australians who have faced trials and tribulations throughout their lives, but completely pushed the ‘limitations’ of their disabilities. Instead, they hone in on it, embrace it, and use it to their advantage. We’re so inspired by their courage, strength and determination to pioneer waves of change throughout sports, modelling and activism.
Here are 3 incredible Australians paving the future of success for people living with disabilities.
Dylan Alcott is a seasoned Australian athlete at the ripe age of 29. He was born with a tumour wrapped around his spinal cord, which was removed successfully within his first few days of being born; but unfortunately left him paraplegic. Dylan has been in a wheelchair ever since. Given the circumstances, Dylan has NEVER let his lack of leg movement become something that holds him back.
His purpose in life is to inspire others and encourage those with a disability to know that they have a lot to offer the world. He went on a solo backpacking trip for seven months, has won FOUR gold medals at the Paralympic Games for basketball and tennis, completed a commerce degree and now most recently, hosts on Triple J where he interviews bands and like-minded young Aussies.
He has established the Dylan Alcott Foundation, where he is committed to helping young Australians with disabilities to surpass the barriers of entry to sport and education by fundraising money for grants, scholarships and mentoring. He also put together a music festival called ‘Ability Fest’, out of his love for going to music festivals and the power they have to make people feel happy and accepted. The all-inclusive event had multi-viewing platforms and pathways, as well as AUSLAN sign language interpreters, quiet areas for fans with Autism and Aspergers to watch from, as well as a guide dog station!
Dylan continues to forge a path for people with disabilities and empowers those around him to harness their true potential.
A household icon, Madeline Stuart, is the first Australian model with Down Syndrome who has absolutely taken the fashion world by storm. She reached international fame after her photos went viral and she has since modelled across the world in New York, London, Paris, Milan and appeared in Vogue – you name it, she’s done it!
It all began when she told her mum, Roseanne Stuart, that she wanted to try modelling. Her mum has always been her biggest fan and ultimate supporter, so she went and got Madeline into a photoshoot, not particularly expecting anything of this magnitude to come of it. She then shared the images on the internet and the photos went VIRAL. Within the month she had 3 major fashion houses asking her to do New York Fashion Week.
Madeline’s success in the fashion world is a testament to how people with Down Syndrome can still be included on stage and it is nothing short of inspirational. It has set precedent for others with Down Syndrome to explore careers in modelling and now there are numerous people with disabilities strutting the catwalk, as well as major department stores including models with various disabilities.
Four years on, Madeline and her mum have become advocates for the further understanding of Down Syndrome and often speak out about how amazing life really is with this disability. We cannot wait to see what she achieves next!
Kurt Fearnley is the Australian athletic POWERHOUSE. He has a congenital disorder named sacral genesis, which prevented fetal development of certain parts of his lower spine and all of his sacrum. Doctors said he wouldn’t live longer than a week… boy, did he show them.
Kurt is Australia’s best wheelchair racer. He is a three-time Paralympic gold medalist and a two-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist, all the while having won over 30 marathons including New York, Chicago and London with a career that has spanned over 20 years. He was a part of the winning Sydney to Hobart yacht crew, Investec loyal. If that wasn’t impressive enough, he tackled the Kokoda track to raise awareness of men’s health.
He is far more accomplished than most and has written a book about his experiences. We definitely recommend giving it a read, he really is one of the most inspiring figures in Australian sports. He has a wife and young family who he adores, and who are so supportive of him and his incredible achievements.
He was named Australian of the Year in 2019, and has spoken about how he would like to focus on his passion for teaching going forward. His extensive athletic career has taught him so much about the mental strength required to successfully achieve the things he has, and he has so much knowledge to offer the world!
At Bespoke Lifestyles we’re all about improving the lives of those living with a disability through empowerment. If you would like to know more about how we support people with their NDIS plan management, contact us today.