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I’m often inspired by the tales of great athletes and we put them on a pedestal for their competitive achievements.

We glorify famous actors and musicians, clicking on articles that contain their names so that we can keep up to date with their antics.

Politicians, inventors, military leaders, captains of industry.  Some noble, others less so, as they gain notoriety and a reputation for their words and deeds.

But right now, there is a group of people I want to acknowledge as genuine, bone fide Australian heroes.

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Let the rain soak in.

Allow positive words to gather in your soul.

Store up happy experiences and memories.

Accept compliments with a smile, acknowledging that there are things that you do well.

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In the midst of celebrating a new year, the world lost a remarkable young man this week, when 20 year-old, Tyler Trent, passed away from cancer.

A huge Purdue Boilermaker fan, Tyler was an inspiration to all who had the privilege of meeting him, through his positive attitude, irrepressible love of sport and desire to make things better for young people in similar situation to him in the future through raising thousands of dollars for paediatric cancer research.

He had a long, arduous battle with his illness, but refused to feel sorry for himself, instead aiming to use the time that he had to maximise his impact on the world.

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After graduating from the little known American University, basketball guard Andre Ingram went undrafted by the NBA, so he did what many other players do and plied his craft in the G League, hoping that he could continue to improve his skills and eventually make it to the big time.

That was 10 years ago!

10 years of dreaming.

10 years of praying.

10 years of hard work.

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Ibrahim Hamadtou displaying his remarkable skill and tenacity

One of the more remarkable stories from the Rio Paralympics is Egyptian table tennis player, Ibrahim Hamadtou.

At the age of 10, Ibrahim lost both of his arms in a train accident, so you would think that table tennis is an odd choice of sport.

But this extraordinary man was not to be daunted, holding the paddle with his teeth and serving by throwing the ball into the air with his toes.

Yes, you read that right.

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Deng Thiak Adut

Deng Thiak Adut, from child soldier to criminal lawyer, an inspirational Australian

Today is Australia Day, which is a wonderful opportunity for a proud Australian like myself to reflect on what it means to be living in such a great country.

As a passionate advocate for refugees and asylum seekers, I have the privilege of helping people from every corner of the world find meaningful work and have had many clients from South Sudan, so when my wife showed me the story of Deng Thiak Adut, I knew that it was a wonderful example of a great Australian to share with you today.

Deng was born in the nation of South Sudan and at the age of 6, he was abducted from his family’s farm to fight for the People’s Liberation Army.  He fought with them as a child soldier for many years, saw atrocities that no child should ever see and eventually was injured in combat after being shot in the back at the age of 12.

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Matt Dellavedova

Matt Dellavedova celebrating a win with Lebron James in the 2015 NBA Finals

I love basketball and seeing Australian athletes shine on the big stage, so to see Andrew Bogut and Matt Dellavedova starting for the two NBA Finalists, the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Andrew Bogut was the first pick in his draft year and he has been in the league for many years, so it’s not such a surprise to see him there, but Matt Dellavedova is another story.

So what’s so inspiring about him? Read the rest of this entry »

Live-with-hope-Have-aNeale Daniher was a terrific footballer.  A champion for the Essendon Football Club, his career was cut short by injuries, but his persistence and courage was a trademark.

He was a highly motivating coach.  His fiery messages as coach of the Melbourne Football Club gave him the nickname, “The Reverend” and his players went to battle for him every week.

And away from football, Neale is highly regarded for his affable nature, warm smile, fierce loyalty to family and friends and sense of humour.

Tragically, last year he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) an insidious illness for which there is no cure and no treatment.

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Glenn Cunningham

Glenn Cunningham, the Kansas Flyer

One of the books that I’m reading at the moment is Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken, the story of Louie Zamperoni that has recently been made into a movie.  Whilst his story is inspirational enough, Laura’a done a great job of writing about him, so this post is about one of the guys who inspired Zamperoni, Glenn Cunningham.

At the age of 8, Cunningham’s legs were badly burned in a school fire that killed his older brother, Floyd.

The doctor’s recommended that Glenn’s legs be amputated, but he protested to his parents and he kept them.  However, his injuries were so bad that doctors said that he wouldn’t ever be able to walk normally again.

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Rosie Batty Australian of the Year

2015 Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty

About a year ago, Rosie Batty was trying to live a normal life with her 11 year old son, Luke, when her former partner and Luke’s father murdered her boy one evening after cricket practice in Tyabb, no more than 20 minutes from my house.

It was an unimaginable crime that immediately thrust Rosie into the public spotlight as she grieved the loss of her son and tried to make sense of such a senseless situation.

This remarkable woman has handled her tragic circumstances with grace and has become an extraordinary ambassador to bring awareness to, and hopefully resolve, our national crisis of domestic violence.

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