After living with cerebral palsy for more than 40 years, Evan is on a mission to smash outdated stereotypes commonly held about people who live with a disability.
“I want to try and educate people as a whole and show them that having a disability doesn’t stop a person from having goals,” Evan said.
“The only difference is it may take us a bit longer to get there because we have more barriers to get to the same point.
“Whether people have a disability or not, we all have dreams and should all be given the same opportunities to realise these.
“I’m determined to achieve as many goals as I can and show people that only having one functioning arm and leg isn’t going to stop me from getting out in the world and showing people that I can do it.”
Evan plans to bring his message to the masses by starting his own public speaking business, and he’s taking part in Carers Queensland’s Be Your Own Boss (BYOB) program to help him achieve this.
The BYOB program, running on the Gold Coast and Ipswich in 2022, aims to empower, educate and support people with disability, who are interested in self-employment, to create or grow their own microbusiness.
“I want to learn the skills and knowledge to know how to get up in front of people and talk, I’m really interested in public speaking. At the most recent workshop the guest speaker was impressed by all the things we (the BYOB attendees) wanted to achieve,” Evan said.
“The workshop did give me some different ideas on things that I didn’t know I needed to work to start my public speaking business which was a big help.”
Evan, who lives in Ipswich, received assistance to apply for and implement his National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding from Carers Queensland’s NDIS Local Area Coordination Partner in the Community Program for the Ipswich region.
In addition to accessing NDIS supports to enable him to remain living independently, Evan has a support worker who helps him with shopping and attend his weekly bible study luncheon.
NDIS supports also give Evan access to a psychologist and physiotherapist and he’s working with a dietitian to eat as healthily as he can, which he says isn’t always easy because he works at Hungry Jacks.
The 42-year-old is also very active in the community and for the past seven years, he has been involved with Ipswich Assist, a non-profit that provides relief to people living rough within the local community.
Evan also plays for the ALARA Jets, an Ipswich touch rugby league for people with intellectual and physical disabilities.
“I’m working on living my best life and that means taking care of myself,” Evan said.
The other day I did a 10km walk just to see how long it would take to get from one point to the other.
“So many people say to me I’m one of the most active and ‘out there’ people they know, and they wonder how I fit it all into my schedule.”
One of Evan’s favourite activities is taking part in the Ipswich 5km Park Run. He’s dressed up in a different and eye-catching outfit every week.
“On weekends I run 5km at Limestone Park and I leave my partner’s house at 4am to get there for 7am,” Evan said.
One weekend I dressed up in black and white gear to show my support for the Collingwood AFL team.
“I have outfits set for the next couple of weeks and there’s been many times I’ve worn face paint and tutus. I find that running helps with my mental health.
“I am inspiring people without really knowing just by doing things I want to do and being the best version of myself.”
Evan recently featured in a YouTube video speaking about life living with cerebral palsy and he’s in talks with a few podcasters who want him to share his lived experience.
“The more I get my name out there the better,” he said.
“I absolutely love speaking to others and trying to get other people to look past someone’s disability.”
Carers Queensland can support you to find out more about the NDIS, to apply for funding and to help you get started with the NDIS.
If you have a disability but are not eligible for the NDIS, Carers Queensland can help you identify and link to options for support in your community.
You can also contact Carers Queensland on 1300 999 636, firstname.lastname@example.org, or sign up to our LAC Connect app here