Dis­abil­ity ad­vo­cate sets the bar high for him­self

GOLDEN BOY OF GYM­NAS­TICS STARS IN AN ONLINE MINIS­ERIES

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Lau­ren Tesolin

ST CLAIR’S Chris Bun­ton at­tends Syd­ney Univer­sity, teaches gym at Pen­rith’s YMCA and has won two gold medals for gym­nas­tics at the Spe­cial Olympics.

Now the busy 23-year-old is an online star.

The Don’t DIS my ABIL­ITY am­bas­sador re­cently teamed with New Zealand mul­ti­me­dia com­pany At­ti­tude Live to doc­u­ment his jour­ney in a minis­eries, Keep­ing Up with Chris.

“It’s about rais­ing aware­ness for peo­ple with a dis­abil­ity and about what they can do,” Mr Bun­ton said. “It’s about hav­ing abil­i­ties and what I can achieve.”

Mr Bun­ton’s motto of “Dream big. Once you have that dream, work hard, prac­tise and never give up” has guided him through life.

Af­ter com­plet­ing the HSC, Mr Bun­ton was given the chance to ful­fil a life­long dream of ter­tiary study.

As an In­clu­sive Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gram stu­dent at the Univer­sity of Syd­ney, Mr Bun­ton is study­ing dig­i­tal busi­ness in­no­va­tion.

The two-year scheme, run by the Cen­tre for Dis­abil­ity Stud­ies, gives peo­ple with in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­i­ties the chance to ex­plore univer­sity life.

“I love univer­sity,” Mr Bun­ton said. “I study. The li­brary is fun and I like my men­tors.”

Uni is just one of his many ex­tra­or­di­nary feats. He won Spe­cial Olympic gold medals in Shang­hai in 2007, for rings, and in Athens in 2011, for high bar.

Mum Halina Bun­ton said when Chris was born with Down syn­drome, she won­dered if he would ever achieve in­de­pen­dence. Now she said he has ex­ceeded all her ex­pec­ta­tions.

“When he walked out at the open­ing cer­e­mony in China, I cried. I saw him wav­ing and stick­ing up his thumbs. He was so happy and proud to be rep­re­sent­ing his coun­try,” Mrs Bun­ton said.

Watch Keep­ing Up with Chris at youtube.com/ watch? v-kemVd­cL2NnQ

Pic­ture: MATT SUL­LI­VAN

Spe­cial Olympics gym­nast Chris Bun­ton has over­come many ob­sta­cles in life.

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