1 year ago

Inform issue 22 – Autumn 2017

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In this edition of Inform we celebrate people out in their communities. We meet John who shares with us his determination which resulted in a new creative direction.

SpinChat Spinning yarns

SpinChat Spinning yarns & marking milestones As the 2016 school year drew to a close, SpinChat reached another exciting milestone in our program. We have spoken to a total of 50,000 young people about risk prevention and spinal cord injuries over the four-year duration of the program that’s over 12,000 people a year! This milestone is a fantastic one to reach, as each audience member brings us closer to our goal of reducing the incidence of spinal cord injuries due to risk-taking behaviours. This milestone would not have been possible without our passionate speakers their hard work and determination has made SpinChat what it is today. They approach each presentation with purpose and a passion for spreading the risk prevention message. Also in 2016 we had a number of firsts our first joint Spinal Cord Injury Awareness week celebration with the TAC (Transport Accident Commission), and our first International Day of People with Disabilities presentations for the Level Crossing Removal Authority and Melbourne Metro rail and we’re looking forward to nurturing these relationships further in 2017. SpinChat aims to raise awareness, promote prevention and educate secondary students about spinal cord injury. Those at highest risk of suffering a spinal cord injury are aged between 15-24 years old (80% male, 20% female). The program sees young people with a spinal cord injury speak to community groups, schools and sporting clubs about life before their injury, the cause of their injury, and life since. To find out more, or to book a presentation, visit or call 03 9418 0490. 18 Inform

“We are just regular people, nothing inspirational, but just living normal lives like any other adult.” Featured SpinChat speaker Antonio Vecchio Tell us briefly about your accident and your injury? When I was 19, I was involved in a single car accident while driving to work in extremely wet conditions, which left me with a spinal cord injury (C6/7 complete quadriplegic). What are your interests? I enjoy fine dining and wine, keeping fit, music, reading, and soccer. I have played wheelchair rugby for almost 10 years, I try to volunteer when I can, and I love seeing others succeed. I also enjoy just sitting drinking a coffee and people watching! Do you work/study? If so, what do you do? My main priority is my studies at Chisholm where I’m currently learning about mental health and alcohol and other drugs, with the intention of working in the mental health industry. What are you reading right now? ‘Eleven Rings’ by Phil Jackson. Why do you think SpinChat is important? I think it’s important because education towards better decision-making is something that may help these young people as they transition to young adults. If the program helps just one person make a decision that saves their or someone else’s life, that to me is priceless. Also, removing the stigma around people with spinal injuries, showing that we are just regular people, nothing inspirational, but just living normal lives like any other adult. What is so rewarding about SpinChat? To me the opportunity to help young people is priceless. The most rewarding aspect is after a presentation when the students reach out to me because they want to share their story with me or simply just say thank you. It’s very humbling. What is something not many people know about you? I’m a big NBA fan, and also I was part of a band that performed for Muhammad Ali in 2000. Autumn 2017 19