Blind Adventurer Appointed Patron for International Day of People with Disability
5 July 2018 at 8:43 am
Adventurer and three-time Paralympian Gerrard Gosens OAM has been appointed the 2018 Patron for International Day of People with Disability.
Gosens, who was born with a congenital eyesight condition, and at 16 was the youngest ever recipient of a guide dog in Australia, is an Ironman, chocolatier, motivational speaker and former Dancing with the Stars contestant.
As part of his new role he would be tasked with raising awareness of disability issues in the lead up to the International Day of People with Disability on 3 December.
Gosens, who was honoured with an Order of Australia award in 2012 for his outstanding service to sport and to people who were blind or had low vision, said he was excited and honoured to be selected.
“Throughout my life I was told, like many other people with disability that things I wanted to achieve were impossible. But I haven’t let that stop me from going after what I wanted, and overcoming obstacles to achieve my goals,” Gosens said.
“Being Patron for International Day of People with Disability is a great opportunity to educate everyday Australians on how much people with disability can achieve when they are given the chance.”
Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services Jane Prentice, who made the announcement on Wednesday, said Gosens was “the ideal choice”.
“Mr Gosens is an inspirational man who has not let anything stop him from accomplishing what he wanted in life,” Prentice said.
“He has achieved the extraordinary throughout his life including summiting Mount Everest, co-piloting a light plane for charity and opening a Belgian chocolate shop.
“I know that Mr Gosens will bring the same passion to this significant appointment.”
Shadow minister for disability and carers Senator Carol Brown said Gosens had been a role model for all Australians achieving an OAM for services to the blind and vision impaired.
“Whether it be co-piloting planes across regional centres in Queensland for charity, or summiting Mount Everest, Mr Gosens has achieved a tremendous amount,” Brown said.