Motorsports drives Rachel
There’s few things Rachel is more passionate about than motorsports.
“I was pretty young, I think I was 12 or 13 or so; I was frequently up in pain and up really late at night,” Rachel says.
“And obviously Formula 1 being European based, it was on at 12 o’clock or one o’clock in the morning so I’d just be up watching TV; then it evolved into supercars, because they are more local and readily accessible to us.
“I guess at that younger age it started off as a fantasy because I was always that young, slow kid who couldn’t do anything.
“Motor cars are fast and they’re exciting and the atmosphere – it’s almost magical.
“I suppose it started off as an escape and then it just bloomed into this passion.”
Rachel was up late at night as a teenager due to a rare, genetic disorder. Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome involves problems in the development of certain blood vessels, soft tissues (such as skin and muscles), bones and sometimes the lymphatic system. She wasn’t diagnosed until 2017.
One of the signs of the condition was a strawberry-coloured mark that Rachel had down her right side, which, up until then, she was told was just a birthmark.
“We found out that it’s so rare, that it’s one in 250,000 people that have the disease,” Rachel says.
“It’s progressive and there’s no cure, so I basically just try to manage my symptoms.
“I also have a few other ailments on top of the Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome.
“I’m basically living in pain 24/7, is the best way to put it.”
This pain has not stopped Rachel from pursuing her dream of being involved in motorsports.
“My son is involved in Amateur Karting; that’s where my participation in motorsport related activities began,” Rachel says.
“I currently hold a General Official Licence with Motorsport Australia.
“I haven’t been able to put those skills into practice yet, but it happened this year so I’m hoping to get out and be able to volunteer a bit more with them next year.
“I have been corresponding with somebody who is affiliated with Motorsport Australia and trying to get some disability positions up and running.
“I’m just trying to integrate myself into that more and more to advocate for people with disability.”
Rachel also has an Instagram page called Accessible Racing Life where she posts information and videos, often for people with disability.
“We post bits and pieces for people who are motorsport fans who might not know they have accessibility options available to them,” Rachel says
“As for motorsport for me, Formula 1 is my passion; I got to cheer on my favourite, Carlos Sainz this year, which was amazing.”
Rachel is keen to point out that there are many avenues open to people with disability for motorsport now.
“I have a really broad range of people following my page, mostly European-based because that’s where a lot of motorsport is based,” Rachel says.
“We have followers who are in wheelchairs, followers with dyspraxia, followers who are amputees and people with abilities that vary, but never hold them back. They are amazing.”
“They will encourage you to get out there and have a go because you’re not limited by your disability.
“There are so many ways that you can get around to seeing your favourite teams and drivers. There are avenues and supports in place for all Motorsport events.
“There’s a different way; if you can imagine yourself driving in a car then you can find a way to get around that.”
Ultimately, Rachel would love to create a forum in motorsports where she can educate people.
“I would love to be involved as much as I can in event accessibility, not necessarily telling my story, but telling ‘a’ story so that people know, ‘If she can do it, then I can do it too.’
“I’d like to be someone who can get involved in advocating for others, for those who don’t have a voice.”
When not going to race meets or creating a community, Rachel likes to write, indulge her love of music, read and spend time with her son.