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
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
to the top of the page