My name is Gary. I was born in December 1962 with congenital deformities of the left hand and right foot. My hand has only two fingers. I am missing the middle three fingers. My thumb is rigid as it has no knuckles and my little finger is missing the extensor and flexor-longus muscles so, although I have full feeling in it, I am unable to use the end of my finger. My right foot was turned medially (inwards) at 90 degrees and had 3 only toes. It was amputated when I was 5 years old. My childhood is full of sport. I think I got close to trying everything. My weekends were full of hockey, football, cricket, running, soccer, softball, baseball, along with watching my beloved Navy Blues do their thing at Princess Park.
Academically I was an average student, but I left school early to make my way in the world. I worked in a factory making security doors and then moved into supermarket retail work in 1979 and remained there for 22 years, 17 of which were on the night shift as Manager at Safeway and then at Coles. It was at Safeway that I met the lady who would become my wife. Our first son, Michael, was born in 1983 and the first thing I did was count his fingers and toes. Andrew came along in 1986 and again I rushed to count fingers and toes. Our life revolved around working hard and raising our children. We got involved in everything they did and served on committees and fundraising ventures at various football, hockey and hockey clubs as well as kindergarten and school committees. One of the big thrills for me personally was coaching kids at T-ball and basketball and serving as team manager for our oldest son’s football team. For many years you could just about account for every minute of every day.
18 Months later I returned to study and completed my Diploma of Remedial Massage achieving the highest mark in the practical exam. I worked as a sub contractor in a busy clinic and we opened our own clinic in November 2004.
2006 has been an eventful year. I have been involved with Aussie Hands in a small way and met some wonderful people. I have also been heavily involved with Limbs4Life, a support group for amputees.
My goal has always been to extend myself to find my true potential and then to push harder and get the most out of myself that I possibly can. I am very competitive and love to win but I am happy to come second, but only if I have my best.
Limbs 4 Life is a not for profit organization for amputees providing peer support from qualified volunteers, information, social activities and advocacy. If you would like to get in touch with Limbs 4 Life, please get in touch with Gary ,or contact Limbs 4 Life directly.