ROSTOKS_031I went overseas some 14 years ago and contracted a really strange infection, and as a result, I’m now a quadriplegic. I also have massive respiratory issues, a feeding tube in my stomach, and I can barely talk or even leave the house. I’m 37 now and I live in disability supported accommodation in Melbourne, Australia.

But I’ve still tried to make the most of it.

So apart from the continual testing, hospital hopping and doctor shopping, I’ve always looked for creative ways to get my life back. Slowly starting with things like concerts, then art classes (painting with a brush in my mouth), and then moving up to holding charity events (as project manager). I’ve even started back with my studies too.

It seems I’m always prepared to do the hard yards where life ambition is concerned.

Then in a natural progression I started a bucket list; it seemed the most logical way to encompass what I desired out of life. And with that, I started to do some rather crazy and extraordinary things… I even surprised myself with some.  My bucket list has provided many memorable moments thus far. Some of these include: running a half marathon (in my wheelchair), appearing on the television show Neighbours, and even the unthinkable goal of kissing supermodel Miranda Kerr.

Only as you can well imagine, it wasn’t all that easy for a quadriplegic to go for a ride in a Lamborghini. I did do it, though.

Then, all of a sudden my health became an even bigger burden.

I started to hunt further for a cure, and began to do even more invasive treatments (it was so, so taxing), and as a result I just got sicker and sicker. I was left wondering so many different things, in fact I was left wondering if dealing with the repercussions of an injury might be easier – as I started fighting for my life every single step of the way.

Only I still had hope, and I relished that!

But not-so-fun times aside, my commercial ambition then became an interest – I mean I have learnt many things on my journey thus far, which I’d love to pass on. Plus, as a teacher of sorts, I feel like I can live up to my capabilities as an effective human being even more so. This new quest has taken me on many paths. I even studied Life Coaching recently (as a path to help others) – now I’m even writing my first book.  And then just recently, I embarked on a GoFundMe campaign to fundraise for a van – yes, I want to buy a van (and deck it out with all my medical equipment) so that I can escape from my predicament some times.

A personal safe haven on wheels is my goal.

I’m working every day at fulfilling my dreams and goals.

No arms, no legs, no voice – no worries.

I found my voice in my own way.

So as you can see adversity can bring a different perspective, invoke change, and most importantly bring your focus back to what is truly important to you. It definitely did for me. Disability gave me the opportunity to focus on what truly made my heart sing.

And where to from here? Well, I kind of know what I’m doing. And I kind of know myself by now. Only I also know that I still have a lot of hard work ahead, and a lot to learn. But I’ve seen what is possible with passion and drive, and I’m flat out going for it now!!

So disability or not, I am still a human with normal wants and desires, hopes and dreams, and I’m continually overcoming my pains. But with that said, I also don’t want to feel like wasted talent, and that is why I often share my inspiration, my thoughts and my words. To remind people that there is more than one way to make an impact.

Mark, Australia