Set up by the United Nations, IDPwD is celebrated internationally to boost public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability and celebrate their achievements and contributions.

This year’s Australian patron is Kurt Fearnley, who has achieved things most of us could only dream of. He climbed Papua New Guinea’s Kokoda Track – not a place for wheelchairs – to raise awareness for men’s health in 2009. In 2012, he was part of the crew that steered the Investec Loyal to victory in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. Kurt is the winner of three Paralympic gold medals, two Commonwealth Games gold medals, and more than 40 marathons, including the New York, Chicago and London marathons.

“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.”

Kurt is 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.

We need to talk honestly about the barriers in society that prevent this and work together to break them down.”

For more of Kurt’s view of life, see the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=6&v=bpGHTEhtRnM

For more on the International Day of People with a Disability, visit https://www.idpwd.com.au/about/ 

To find out about Sydney Community Services’ support and activities for people with disabilities,

visit https://www.sydneycs.org/disability-services/