Disability Awareness Week 2007 

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu

Disability Awareness Week 2007 will kick off this week celebrating the achievements of those with disabilities.

Key events for the week include a solo guitar performance by Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu at the Charles Darwin University Soundshell, and the ‘Celebrating Ability and Achievement’ dinner featuring guest speaker Vinny Lauwers.

Regional Disability Liaison Officer (RDLO), Elizabeth Reid, commented on the week’s activities: ‘Disability awareness week is an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions that people with a disability make in our community.

‘CDU has a strong commitment to increasing the opportunities of Territorians with disabilities in post-secondary education, training and employment.’

Elizabeth is the coordinator of the gala dinner which will be held at the Trailer Boat Club, Wednesday, 15 August featuring Vinny Lauwers, the first person with a disability to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world.

Vinny lost his ability to walk after his spinal cord was severed in a motorcycle accident when he was 22 years old. Not expected to survive the accident, Vinny made a remarkable recovery. However, the accident had not just taken away his ability to walk but also his love for life.

After repeated operations, immense physical and mental pain, and another broken back, Vinny’s dream began to take shape. In October 1999 an emotional farewell from family together with hundreds of supporters including Victorian Premier Steve Bracks, Vinny set sail from Port Phillip Bay on his custom-made yacht, Vision Quest, to turn his dream into reality.

In May 2001, Vinny was recognised as International Disabled Sports Person of the Year at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco – other recipients on the night were International Sportsman, Tiger Woods and International Sportswoman, Cathy Freeman.

Disability Awareness Week will run from 13-19 August and incorporate a wide range of activities and functions at some of Darwin’s premier venues.

For more information please visit www.darwin.nt.gov.au.