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Getting the Balance Right With Disability & Research

Spina bifida, Thalidomide, Paraplegic are possibly the most recognised disabilities out there, thanks to media campaigns focusing on.

  • Prevention and education
  • Lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies
  • Stem Cell Research

Creative media campaigns that highlight spinal cord injuries along with acquired brain injuries play an important role in educating us all on the risks we take when we have that drink and then jump in the car.

Health Professionals continually educate young women who are planning pregnancy to take folic acid before and during pregnancy as a precaution to avoid birth defects.

In the media this week a Melbourne-based landmark international class action against the German maker of the drug thalidomide was given a lot of coverage.

Lynette Rowe and her family are the public faces in this class action and I congratulate Lynette on having the guts to take on this role on behalf of many others.

My mum joked with me when I told her about the story I was doing this week. She said “I hope one day they find what caused your Arthrogryposis,…… you’ve always promised me an overseas trip”

Lynette and I were both born in 1962 and apparently this year was “the peak of the birth-defect epidemic”

Lynette & I met as kids at “little athletics” or back in those days it was called school sports.

We competed against each other in the famous “rolling races”

I’m talking about being lifted out of our wheelchairs then lined up, head to bum on to the grass, and then we would wait for the starter’s gun, (actually it was two pieces of wood that we hinged and then banged together) it was bloody great fun.

Lynette was always the winner of those races, as I had too many twisted limbs that stuck out in unnatural positions that prevented “smooth rolling”

I write this piece to remind us of the balance as we, research, blame, and educate others about about the risk of acquiring a disability, that many people are proud of what they have & are achieving whilst living with their disability.



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