Secret Millionaire Chapter 13

Steve Pickering of the Disabled Surfers Association

Steve Pickering of the Disabled Surfers Association

My life as an undercover volunteer

Secret Millionaire ‘“ Channel Nine 9.30pm 29 Oct 2009

Episode Four: Features Naomi Simson

I don’t do a lot in the afternoon but think about the people I have met in the last week. There is so much that can be done. From all of them I have heard the difficulty that they have raising funds, but also the importance of community involvement. When the Disabled Surfers Assocating fund raise with raffles, more people hear about the work they do. And as a result they also get more volunteers.

I go to visit Steve today at his home.

Steve’s house is in a southern suburb of Brisbane. It’s a normal brick veneer home, owned by the department of housing and converted for use by people in a wheel chair. I see the surfboard in production in the kitchen, meet the flat mates dog ‘“ and learn more about Steve’s colourful life before the accident. He has a carer who looks in on him, and a flat mate (with a dog). I can imagine that it could become very isolated.

Steve has much to share about his thoughts on life. He tells of his family leaving Stradbroke when he was four, of being hospitalized for many months for an unknown illness when he was fourteen, having his fishing trawler sink when he was 24, whilst he was at sea – and being rescued safely after 48 hours in the water. And then of slipping off the balcony at the age of 34, breaking his neck and having his carefree, outdoors life changed for ever. He laments he is not looking forward to turning 44… still five years away.

He says he misses just hanging out a laughing with his mates. He said ‘I’ve done some pretty silly things in my time – and got out of them without a scratch. When I wasn’t even horsing around – I just slipped and fell – and my life, and for those around me was changed for ever.”

I’m fascinated by both the surf board he is building and the clothing line he would like to produce. Still very much in infancy.

It is getting late – and whilst we chat a length I am very aware of the logistics of getting myself back to the motel. But imagine if I was in a wheel chair – it would take a different level of courage to move around – or go any distance more than the immediate vicinity around your neighborhood.

I’m sad to say goodbye to Steve – we’ve had such a lively chat on the meaning of life. We determined it just ‘is what it is’.

How is the best way to support the DSA, and the CSA and 139 and the others? I want to do more than just give them money. I want to give them something, which will assist in getting the community involved. I’m determine that I will find when the DSA Sydney events are on’¦ and offer my services, even if it is just running the barbeque.

It’s a long night’¦I have to think things through. I’m pretty clear on the path I will take. I wonder how they will react.

Tomorrow I get to put my red suit on and become Naomi Simson again. I am beginning to feel very nervous. choices to make…

I think of the Frank Sinatra song ‘“ ‘I’m gonna live all my days until I die’

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One Comment

  1. Natalie
    Posted October 28, 2009 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    Hi Naomi,
    I love reading your blog posts about volunteering; thank you for sharing pieces of your life! I work for a publishing firm in Austin, Texas, and we would love to contact you via email regarding your past (and hopefully future!) book projects. Is there any way you could email me with a contact email for yourself? I would really appreciate it.
    Keep up the good work! Thank you again!

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