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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Canberra teen front and centre of disability series

Canberra’s Michael Foster may be a 17-year-old man living with cerebral palsy, but that doesn’t stop him from tackling the world head-on.

His story of living with a disability, playing in Canberra’s inaugural wheelchair soccer team and overcoming adversity will be featured on a new series, debuting on Thursday 3 December.  

Michael decided to take part in Fearless: Season 2 to educate others around him about his disability.

“I thought it would be a good idea to get the message out there that even though you have a disability it doesn’t stop you from doing everything other people do – don’t fear it, embrace it,” he said.

“It used to [stop me from doing things] but then I thought people are going to stare, people are going to treat me like I am different so better give them a good reason to.

“At the end of the day, we are all humans, and we can all do the same things.”

The film explores Michael’s love for playing on Canberra United’s wheelchair soccer team, which started at a ‘come-and-try day’ three years ago.

“I tried it and as soon as I did, I loved it and wanted to keep doing it. It took a bit of time to get our new powerchairs but eventually we got there,” he said. 

Michael and Aaron have the sibling rivalry of any set of twins, and it comes out on the wheelchair soccer field with Aaron being Michael’s assistant coach. Photo: Kerrie Brewer.

The only negative, his twin brother Aaron is the assistant coach which gives him “a good excuse” to boss Michael around.

“I guess it’s normal, he can be a bit annoying when he tells me what to do but him being assistant coach you kind of have to listen to him,” Michael laughed.

The pair have a sibling rivalry like no other, and despite playing practical jokes on each other such as Aaron turning Michael’s wheelchair off in the middle of the school grounds, his family are his biggest support.

“If it wasn’t for Mum and Dad I wouldn’t be able to walk in a walker, that’s very difficult for me and I might not have wanted to do it but Mum and Dad have always wanted what’s best for me,” he said.

“Aaron has really helped me make friends at my school, it took me a few weeks to get the courage to go up to the group, but now they have become my best friends thanks to Aaron.”

Michael’s journey with disability and relationship with his family will be the first instalment of Fearless: Season 2 which will premiere online.

For more information on the six-part series, visit www.feroscare.com.au/fearlessfilms2.

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Ian Cubitts
Ian Cubitts