Westcare Launches International Day Of People With A Disability

Peter Taliangis

Monday, 28th November marked Westcare's inaugural celebration of International Day of People with a Disability.

International day of People with a Disability is a worldwide celebration that occurs annually on the 3rd of December.

The day celebrates the experience and expertise of people with a disability by uniting the community, disability organisations, individuals with a disability, businesses and all levels of Government.

To celebrate and recognise people with a disability in Western Australia Westcare Incorporated held a breakfast at the University Club of Western Australia with over two hundred people in attendance.

The event aimed to raise awareness in the community while also raising money to help Westcare achieve its mission to support and enhance the lives of West Australian's with disabilities.

Westcare Incorporated is a non-profit organisation committed to the care, accommodation, rehabilitation and employment of people with disabilities as well as continuing research into tuberculosis.

Through Westcare Industries, which is the trading arm of Westcare Incorporated, employment, accommodation and training for people with disabilities have been provided for the last 50 years.

Currently, Westcare Industries employs 120 people with disabilities in printing, cardboard box making, box covering, industrial packaging, food packaging and safety good manufacturing.

The Westcare Accommodation Services currently houses another 50 Western Australians with disabilities ¥ helping them to live in an independent setting of their choice.

With all proceeds from the International Day of People with a Disability breakfast going directly to Westcare the event helped the organisation to continue their work in the community.

The breakfast was such a success in not only fundraising, but helped to generate community debate and create awareness about Western Australian's with a disability.

Due to the roaring success of the event Westcare Chief Executive Officer, Peter Beaton, already plans to do it all again next year.

"The morning was a huge success and I received many compliments about the event from sponsors, board members, staff and attendees," said Mr Beaton. "The event was a significant first for Westcare and we are excited by the opportunities presented by growing the event further next year."

As the breakfast was such a success in raising community awareness and discussion about people with disabilities Westcare has already committed to holding another International Day of People with a Disability event next year.

The Master of Ceremonies for the event was Brett Lane from the West Australian and the guest speaker at the event was Mr John Maclean author of "Sucking the Marrow Out of Life".

Former Penrith Panther rugby player, Mr Maclean, gave an inspiring speech on the hardship he faced after becoming a paraplegic in 1988 due to a tragic road accident.

Guests of the breakfast said Mr Maclean's speech was uplifting and inspirational highlighting the strength and will power he had to move forward with his life and become the first wheelchair athlete to finish the grueling Hawaiian Iron man Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii.

The Western Australian Young Australian of the Year, Fiona Sheppard, also spoke of the challenges associated with having a disability in society.

Peter Beaton, Chief Executive Officer of Westcare, and Ms Sue Ellery, Parliamentary Secretary of Health representative of Western Australian Premier Dr Geoff Gallop, also spoke.

Ms Ellery spoke about the role of Western Australian Government promoting the importance people with disability being welcomed and accepted into every aspect of society.

She thanked Westcare for organising the event and congratulated organisers for helping to celebrate the lives of people with disabilities and create public discussions about the standards of life for people with disabilities.

Also in attendance at the breakfast were Barry Mackinnon, Chair of Disability Services Commission and Martin Bennett QC.

The event would not have been a roaring success without the help from Westcare's sponsors, NICAN, The West Australian, 6IX, Disability Services Commission, the University Club, Dymocks and Australian Government Department of Family and Children Services.

For more information on Westcare visit: www.westcare.com.au or contact Peter Taliangis on 6389 4100.