Disability scheme a winner
AS our government considers whether to implement the National Disability Insurance Scheme; I stumbled upon the story of a man with a disability so severe he can’t talk or walk but with the help of his father, has run marathons and conquered the gruelling Hawaii Ironman.
Dick, 70, and his 48-year-old son Rick, a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, are known as Team Hoyt and they are preparing to run their 29th Boston Marathon next month which will bring their event tally to well over 1000.
There are several YouTube videos starring Team Hoyt and they are among the most inspirational and emotional I’ve ever watched.
Whether he is loading his son into an inflatable raft and towing him on the swim leg, strapping him to a bike or pushing him in his chair, there’s nowhere Dick has gone without Rick during their past 30 years of competitions.
Doctors told Judy and Dick Hoyt to institutionalise their son at birth but instead they treated him like any of their other children.
They fought to keep him in the public school system, raised money for a special computer which allows him to communicate with a tap of his head and cheered him on as he graduated from university.
Here in Australia there are thousands of people living with disability but unlike Rick Hoyt, not all of them have had the opportunity to reach their full potential.
The system is grossly underfunded, waiting lists are years long and carers are flat out putting food on the table after paying for the expenses associated with disability.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme, as recommended by the independent Productivity Commission, has received early bipartisan support from politicians but it is an expensive exercise costing an additional $ 7 billion annually.
As a nation we can’t afford not to support the scheme.
In North Queensland, families, care providers and experts have thrown their support behind the national ‘‘ Every Australian Counts’’ campaign and they need your help. The scheme will mean better access to services and programs which will help people with disabilities live meaningful lives and contribute to society as well as give exhausted carers a break.
It will mean children with disability won’t have to wait on a list until they are teenagers to access a program which could have made all the difference in their formative years.
It will mean Australians with a disability are given the same opportunities to succeed as everyone else. Go to everyaustraliancounts . com. au to register your support.