Braeside Games celebrate people with disability

The message from this year's Braeside Games guest speaker, John Garbutt, was one of hope: “Life doesn’t finish despite having a disability.”

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Mr Garbutt is 13 years post-stroke, having suffered a stroke and then a heart attack at age 46. With three children at school, and a successful public service career, Mr Garbutt was fit and healthy and in the prime of his life, when he suffered his life-changing stroke.

He has since endured many years and months of rehab and today lives a very busy and active life. He is President of the Stroke Recovery Association, and has returned to sailing and plays lawn bowls twice a week.

His message is simple. It is possible to live a full and active life with a disability.

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The Braeside Games, held every two years at Braeside Hospital since the Sydney Olympics in 2000, are held to show how people with a disability can move forward with their lives.They mark International Day of People with a Disability - held worldwide to highlight the needs of people with a disability and celebrate their achievements.

The Games, which this year attracted around 200 past and present rehabilitation patients and their families, included a range of activities such as shuttle board, volleyball, putt putt golf and a group Zumba class. There was also entertainment and a barbecue lunch.

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Opening the Games this year was Associate Professor Friedbert Kohler, Director of Medical Services at Braeside, who said that around 4.5 million people are living with a disability in Australia – equivalent to the population of Sydney. He said Braeside’s rehabilitation services included a mix of stroke, orthopaedic and aged care.

Organising Committee spokesperson, Diversional Therapist at Braeside, Bronwyn Ellis said the day was a team effort and thanked all the community clubs, businesses and volunteers who contributed to this year’s event.

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