Hero of the Week Award - Cameron Leslie | The Jackal

17 Jun 2011

Hero of the Week Award - Cameron Leslie

Most able-bodied people wouldn’t have a clue about the challenges and difficulties disabled people face on a daily basis. It’s not just the physical barrier that the disabled need to overcome; people’s attitudes are often as great a barrier to achieving independence. There’s a fantastic program called Attitude that helps to promote and enable the participation of the disabled in society as full and equal citizens. The appropriately named show helps to break down the barriers that inhibit equality within New Zealand.

Some progress has been made in this area over the last few years, however disabled people feel that change is not rapid enough and fundamental barriers to their participation in society still exist. Some of the main issues are:

Removing peoples discrimination, improving access for disabled people, meeting the changing expectations of disabled people and their families, sustaining disability support services, supporting people's growing aspirations and ensuring the needs of future generations are planned for.

People of all ages and ethnicities have impairments that range from intellectual, psychiatric, physical, neurological and/or sensory impairments. These may be temporary, intermittent, or ongoing. Society further disables people over and above their impairments by excluding them from participation or from having independence. This often takes the form of service design, communication channels, buildings and attitudes, which makes aspects of society inaccessible.

That’s why the hard work of Cameron Leslie is so important. This young man shows that through goal setting and effort nearly anything is achievable. His example breaks down those societal barriers that are often far more debilitating than any physical condition.

Cameron overcame a quadruple limb deficiency to win the 2008 paralympian Individual Medley gold medal, setting a world record in the process. The journalist, advocate and wheelchair rugby player won the prestigious Attitude Sportsman of the Year Award in 2008. He also received the NZ Order of Merit in 2009. It’s no wonder he’s the Jackal's Hero of the Week Award winner. Well done young man.