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Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week

Below is my speech in Parliament about Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week

Mr WINGARD  ( Mitchell ) ( 12:38 :03 ): I rise in support of the motion to recognise Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week from 8 to 15 November 2015 as a national campaign that aims to create a more inclusive and accessible community for everyone. It is raising awareness about what it means to have a spinal cord injury and that people who have a spinal cord injury are involved in all aspects of life and are contributing to the community in so many different ways.

I would like to take this opportunity to read a Facebook post put up by some family friends of mine about their daughter who suffered a spinal cord injury: 30 years ago she found herself in a wheelchair. Her mother writes that she was dragged from the back seat of a rolled car at 17 by a young ambulance attendant on a country road and taken to Hampstead Centre. She spent 10 years in a revolutionary, scientific, functional electro-stimulation program with Dr Miranda Jelbart, and Dr Ruth Marshall, to get paras to walk again.

She founded the Spinal Research Fund of Australia with her mum, dad, some of her dad's wise mates and younger brother, Josh, raising over $2 million to find a cure. She represented her country 17 times in international sport in two disciplines—swimming and basketball—a world record in there somewhere for swimming. In her finest hour she gave birth to twin boys, Jeremy and Travis, who I know are the pride of her life.

I read that out on behalf of Dawn and Dennis Ferrett and their daughter, Melissa. I too support the motion to recognise Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week, and Melissa, at this moment and the great things she has done since the accident that put her in a wheelchair. 

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