Every now and then, you meet someone truly inspirational. Jake Fulwood is such a person. Here is his story from his proud Mum, Sharon:
I would like to introduce you to my son, Jake. He is 21 years old and has Spina Bifida. He is studying Linguistics – Japanese at Griffith University (although deferred this semester to concentrate on his training). Jake recently competed in the Under 23 World Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Toronto, Canada, where the Aussie Spinners won the Bronze.
As you can imagine, it hasn’t always been the easiest road to get Jake to this standard of basketball. Jake has had numerous major operations before the age of 10, and only ever wanted to play team sports. Just after his 10th birthday, we introduced him to wheelchair basketball; and although he had another operation just after, and had 3 months off, he went to his first Australian Junior Nationals at the age of 11.
Playing sport has been the best thing we have ever done for Jake. It has improved his self-esteem, confidence, the way he sees his disability. He’s made friends, met mentors, paralympians and most importantly, found a reason for living.
The road to Toronto has been a long one, with a lot more operations in his late teenage years. But when he won the player of the match against Italy, we both think it was the culmination of all the hard work and determination he possesses.
Basketball has also been fantastic for my other children too. My next son down has high functioning autism, and although he cannot spend a lot of time at the courts, always volunteers to help along with his sister at the wheelchair basketball tournament that is held here on the Sunshine Coast.
Jake’s involvement in basketball has led me to volunteer for local, state and interstate teams in many fulfilling positions over the past 12 years. Thanks to his passion, I have been able to grow and now incorporate what I have learned in this time as a volunteer into my business as an Event Manager.
Having children with disabilities hasn’t always been easy, but it sure does ensure you as a parent grow.