When it comes to his greatest achievement, there’s a lot that Gerrard Gosens OAM, 2018 International Day of People with Disability Patron, could choose from.
Born with congenital blindness, he has competed in three Paralympics and six world championships; been awarded an Order of Australia; opened a business and become a global adventurer; married the love of his life and had two very talented children; and to top it off he summited the tallest peak in the world, Mount Everest.
Gerrard, who went to his first Paralympics in 1996, didn’t intend to keep competing in sports professionally but an encounter at his local pool changed his mind.
“I had assumed I had retired as an athlete,” he said. “I was doing some swimming at the local pool and one of the swimmers pulled me up and said have you considered doing a triathlon?”
“Two years later I’m inside the top 10 and I’ve been selected to represent Australia at my second triathlon world champions.”
Gerrard uses sport as a way to show his ability, by playing just as well or better than anyone else, and breaking down stereotypes about what people who are vision impaired can do.
Gerrard is also passionate about raising awareness and educating people about issues that people with disability face, and highlight their contribution to society.
Gerrard says that he is honoured to be the 2018 International Day of People with Disability Patron as he will have the opportunity to raise awareness about disability and breakdown stereotypes.
In his role as Patron, Gerrard is encouraging organisations, stakeholders, and the broader community to get involved with the Day and celebrate the achievements of people with disability.
To learn more about Gerrard’s story, you can watch the Patron’s videos.
So, I am a three times Paralympic athlete.
I’ve had the chance to represent Australia at also six World Championships.
I had assumed I had retired as an athlete.
I was still doing some running.
I was at the local pool doing some laps.
One of the swimmers there called me up and said,
“Hey listen, Gerrard, I know you’re a bit of an athlete.
“Have you ever considered doing a triathlon?”
I said, “No mate, I’ve never done a triathlon.”
He said, “Well, would you like to do one with me?”
And I said, “Yeah, sure.”
I took it on, and two years later now,
I’ve been ranked inside the top ten and just been selected to represent Australia at my second Triathlon World Championships.
Along with that, being a chocolatier, running two chocolate stores in the Brisbane city, as well as working for Max Employment, so Max Solutions as their project manager.
It’s a great opportunity to make a change in the lives of people who have a disability through our employment services.
I think for me, as a person who is totally blind, it’s been a great chance to break down the various perceptions of people who have a bit of a skewed insight into what a person can or can’t achieve.
I was very honoured to be asked to be the patron for International Day for People with Disability.
It highlights the opportunities, the achievements, and the challenges, and also, the perceptions that people might have about a person with disability.
It’s about recognising that working together, we can achieve a lot.
Hi, my name is Gerrard Gosens, I’m Patron for International Day for People with Disability.
One in five Australians live with a disability.
I think for me it’s about recognising that working together we can achieve a lot.
Join with me in recognising and celebrating the many achievements, contributions, and abilities of people with a disability on the 3rd of December.
Visit the website and find out how you can celebrate.