This week, we talk to quadriplegic Sid James. Although he was due to participate in the Ironman World Championships next week, he and his training partner Kevin Fergusson had their entry revoked just days before the event. Still, he will be travelling to Kona and supporting Kev from the sidelines. In this week’s Puddle Talk, Sid tells us a little about his journey since becoming a quadriplegic and his passion for triathlons.
Tell us a little about you, your age, disability and current situation…
I am a male, my age is getting very, very, very close to 60 and my disability is I’m a C3 quad with no real movement in my arms or legs.
Share with us all the amazing things you can do, especially those that people in your local community may not realise you can do?
In regards to what I can do, it is very limited, but with help I can do anything. I am very good at organising things, and people are very willing to help me, especially a group of friends that I have got to know over many years. What I do is organise triathlons in Victor Harbor – approximately 1000 people enter every year. My communication with people has got better in later years but in the beginning people would talk to the able-bodied person alongside me. Now I start the conversation off, and if not, come in very early in the discussion with my opinion. I do go out to sporting events in Adelaide, movies and whatever I like to do. Anything can be done with open communication and time.
What has been your biggest achievement to date? How did you achieve such big heights?
My biggest achievement today is having the radio up loud, no hindrance from emails, and I wrote 18 letters to the sponsors of the triathlons I organise. In regards to my greatest achievement – there are so many and there are more to come. I get approximately 1000 people to enter my events, and the best part is seeing 200 children race around the course with no cares of the world, just the person in front of them. I’ve done that for the past 24 years and I do plan to do it for a few more yet.
What has been the hardest barrier for you to overcome?
The hardest barrier has been trying to get back into the mainstream when it comes to conversations. All able-bodied people talk about things they are doing and are going to do, or what they have done. When you have a disability of any kind, our topics are different. The really hard thing was trying to get back in the groove like you were before your accident or disability happened. It has taken me 15 to 20 years.
What is one positive thing about the NDIS for you and how do you think the scheme will assist inclusion in your community?
I hope to have more hours of care, which will allow me to stay out later and go to people’s places for parties which go on past 8pm. Currently I have to go to bed at 7pm because carers do not get paid after 8pm. Most people’s parties go to at least 9pm.