Matt Laffan, public speaker, Sydney Australia
Matt Laffan, public speaker, Sydney Australia

Who Is Matt Laffan?

I am a 37 year old who lives and works in the City of Sydney.

I arrived in Sydney at the beginning of 1989 as a fresh faced youth ready to start my university studies. Prior to that I had grown up in Coffs Harbour, on the Far North Coast of New South Wales, where I attended primary and high schools. The big move to the City from the coast was made easy by virtue of the fact that I enrolled as a resident at St John's College on the University of Sydney campus, allowing me the opportunity to begin my independent life within the protective support of the collegiate experience. It was there that the cornerstone of my formative years was put in place so that when I graduated from my Arts and Laws degrees at the end of 1994 I had the confidence to pursue a career of my choosing.

I have never taken to the Rugby paddock, but the game is in my blood. My old man has coached Rugby all my 37 years and thus it has been with me forever. And with it have come experiences and friendships and lessons learned that have assisted to shape me into the evolving man I am.

When I was born with a rare genetic disorder I was given time to live: A very short time. They said I would not see out the week. The prognosis was wrong but the sense of urgency that was cast upon me at that crucial stage of my infancy has never left me. I am haunted by the feeling that tomorrow has no guarantees so one better make as much of today to ensure when tomorrow arrives it has something good to follow it. The hours are crowded into moments that sometimes seem too slow, and then too fast.

I have been reliant upon an electric wheelchair for my mobility since the age of ten, and thus restricted, as it were, in some ways, which has afforded me the opportunity to see that there is no room in life to forgo opportunities to live positively. Having bid farewell to too many friends whom found the living too tough and the dying too easy despite everything they had I treasure each of the moments that Life has to offer. The key, for me at least, is enjoying and sharing it as much as one can.

People regard the challenges that I could be said to have faced as being far more interesting than I do. I have simply gone about doing what has come naturally, determined not to allow circumstances to dictate the way in which I was to live, deciding instead to instinctively embrace the challenges that have come my way by working out the best way meet the challenges.

I enjoy travelling domestically and abroad. Of course it is not an easy thing to head overseas with an electric wheelchair, battery charger, specialised equipment, luggage and a companion who can help throughout the journey. But the rewards for having a crack at it are without peer. The journeys I have undertaken have taught me much about the world, and even more about myself. I established the first web site in Australia designed to assist people with disabilities and their friends and companions to find the information they were after to travel around Australia and overseas. Since that time I have begun working with another company that has followed my lead in order to explore that market.

I am a man of contrasts. I love watching modern ballet and the celebrated mystery of bodies working with light, air and music. Whilst the robust contest of sport thrills me. I am committed to forging a path of my own making as an individual, but I passionately believe in the rights of others to collectively benefit from the opportunities that have been given to or created by me. I live, work and thrive on the CBD, but long for quiet spells in the mountains. I sense that it is all to be had and enjoyed, but I remain aware of the precarious balance that exists between having and not. I am buoyed by companionship but unafraid of solitude.

If you are interested to know who some of Matt's role models are just click here: Matt's role models

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