Western Leader : August 22nd 2014
YOUR PLACE, YOUR PAPER Friday, August 22, 2014 Many people are shy to be seen in public in a wheelchair but I encourage them not to let ❝ anything stop themfromtrying a new experience. Sailingisan outlet andvery stimulating. Positive outlook:Brendan Tourelle, 52, broke his back in a fall when he was 38 and discovered a love for sailing after the accident. Photo: MONICA TISCHLER Positively in control By MONICA TISCHLER BRENDAN Tourelle won’t let anything get in the way of his love for the ocean. Not even hearing the doc- tor tell him he’ll never walk again after breaking his back. The once keen surfer and fisherman was working as a commercial painter in 1999 when he slipped off a ladder and fell six metres. As he adjusted to a new way of life, the father of four was determined not to let it darken his outlook. ‘‘I tried to have a brave face and think of it as a new ➤ATTITUDEAWARDS The awards comprise of eight categories including Sport Performer of the Year,Artistic Achievementand Spirit of Attitude, to name a few. Nominationsfor SportPerformerremain open until October 15 andcan be submitted at attitudeawards.org. beginning,’’ the Te Atatu Peninsula resident says. It’s his can-do approach that’s put him up against some of New Zealand’s most talented disabled artists, innovative businesses and courageous sportspeople announced as finalists in this year’s Attitude Awards. Tourelle, 52, is a nominee in the Making a Difference category, for his hard work and commitment as chairman of Sailability. The Westhaven Marina- based organisation helps mentally and physically disabled people experience the freedom of water and being in control of a sailing boat. It benefits more than 60 members determined to race in national regattas or just wanting to have some fun on the water. People with severe brain injuries and tetraplegics can also have the sailing experience through a simulator controlled by chin movements. Tourelle joined the organ- isation within six months of his accident and says he was determined to start experiencing new ventures as early as possible. ‘‘Many people are shy to be seen in public in a wheelchair but I encourage them not to let anything stop them from trying a new experience. Sailing is an outlet and very stimulating,’’ he says. Despite only sailing once before his accident, he’s now a skilled racer and has two national championships under his belt. Tourelle says sailing gives people freedom and control. ‘‘Many disabled people rely on someone to do everything for them on land but being on the water gives them that control back,’’ he says. Attitude Awards trustee Dan Buckingham and member of national wheelchair rugby team the Wheel Blacks says the awards aren’t just about handing out medals and prizes but aim to change the way people view what can be achieved with a disability. ‘‘It showcases the lives and potential of people with disabilities,’’ he says. Attitude Award winners will be announced during a black-tie event on World Disability Day, December 3 at Auckland’s Viaduct Events Centre. ❚ Go to sailabilityauckland. org.nzformoreinformation about Sailability.
August 21st 2014