Kurt Fearnley

Kurt Fearnley, International Day of People with Disability patron for 2019, is a man who has achieved things most of us can only dream of.

Kurt has won three Paralympic gold medals, two Commonwealth Games gold medals, and more than 40 marathons, including the New York, Chicago and London marathons.

He climbed Papua New Guinea’s Kokoda Track to raise awareness for men’s health in 2009, and in 2012 was part of the crew that steered the Investec Loyal to victory in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

Kurt is also a proud husband and father, teacher, public speaker, an Officer of the Order of Australia, and was recently named New South Wales Australian of the Year for 2019.

As 2019 patron of International Day of People with Disability, Kurt hopes to encourage Australians to take concrete action, to help make change in the lives of people with disability.

“What I most want to achieve as this years’ patron is for people to use International Day of People with Disability as a launching pad for further action,” he said.

“People with disability are entitled to the same respect, independence and choice as others. We need to talk honestly about the barriers in society that prevent this and work together to break them down.”

Athletics, (Sunday 2nd September) Olympic Stadium, Paralympics – Summer / London 2012, London, England 29 Aug – 9 Sept , © Sport the library/Greg Smith

Hi. I’m Kurt Fearnley, the 2019 patron for International Day of People with Disability.

I am a Father, Husband, Teacher, Paralympian, Gold Medalist, Athlete and proud Man with a disability.

As this year’s patron, I want to advocate for my community and increase awareness and understanding of people with disability.

We have the same rights to employment, respect, independence and equality as everyone else.

We all have a role to play in breaking down the barriers faced by people with disability.

Sometimes that role may just be to listen to the voices of people with disability themselves.

On the 3rd of December, get involved by hosting an event in your school, workplace or community.

To find out more, visit the website.

Let’s grow inclusion for all of our community.

In Australia, one in five people live with disability, that’s 4.3 million people.

That could be your neighbour, your teacher or your child.

Despite this, people with disability are less likely to have a job and face daily challenges people without disability rarely do.

We are headed in the right direction.

But we still have a long way to go in breaking down barriers, ensuring people with disability can reach their full potential.

There are lots of ways you can help celebrate International Day of People with Disability in the lead up to the 3rd of December.

Start a conversation about disability, remove barriers in your workplace, community or school or you can host an event.

Or visit the Job Access website to find out how you can be a successful employer of people with disability.

Let’s grow inclusion for all of our community.

Talking about disability in schools and educating kids about inclusion is important.

Kids need to understand early that people with disability are impacted by barriers in society, like buildings without ramps, or people’s assumptions about what they can or can’t do.

We don’t need to be ‘fixed’ and are not a problem.

Often it’s society that needs to adapt.

This year on international day of people with disability, we urge schools to get involved.

On the 3rd of December, have a conversation about disability in the classroom, host an event and enter the schools competition.

To find out how your school can get involved, visit the website.

Now come on, let’s grow inclusion for all of our community.