Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services Jane Prentice today announced blind adventurer and chocolatier Gerrard Gosens OAM as the 2018 Patron for International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD).
Mrs Prentice said three-time Paralympian and business owner Mr Gosens, as a role model and passionate advocate for people with disability, was the ideal choice as Patron.
“Mr Gosens is an inspirational man who has not let anything stop him from accomplishing what he wanted in life,” Mrs Prentice said.
“He has achieved the extraordinary throughout his life including summiting Mount Everest, co-piloting a light plane for charity and opening a Belgian chocolate shop.
“I know that Mr Gosens will bring the same passion to this significant appointment. The Patron is tasked with the important role of raising awareness of disability issues, as well as promoting and participating in activities leading up to International Day of People with Disability, which is held on 3 December each year.”
Today, Mr Gosens will present awards to the winners of the 2018 Queensland Wheelchair Open at the Queensland Tennis Centre in his capacity as the 2018 Patron. Mr Gosens said that he was excited and honoured to be selected.
“Throughout my life I was told, like many other people with disability, that things I wanted to achieve were impossible. But I haven’t let that stop me from going after what I wanted, and overcoming obstacles to achieve my goals,” Mr Gosens said.
“Being Patron for International Day of People with Disability is a great opportunity to educate everyday Australians on how much people with disability can achieve when they are given the chance.”
Gerrard Gosens was born with a congenital eyesight condition, and at 16 he was the youngest ever recipient of a guide dog in Australia. Mr Gosens is also an Ironman, chocolatier, motivational speaker and former Dancing with the Stars contestant.
To find out more about International Day of People with Disability go to www.idpwd.com.au or call 1800 440 385. TTY users please call 1800 555 677 and ask for 1800 440 385.