Against the Odds: Brett Fairhall’s Story
Brett Fairhall knows a thing or two about perseverance. As a member of the Pararoos, Australia’s Paralympic Football Team, Brett challenged himself to always ‘up his game’. It’s an approach he still brings to every facet of his life.
Brett was two years old when he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (CP). The first sign was when his parents realised his right arm wasn’t the same as his left.
The cause of cerebral palsy is a brain injury or brain malformation that occurs while the brain is developing — before, during, or after birth. As a result of the damage during brain development, a child's muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance can be affected.
“In terms of my daily life I try not to let it affect me as much as possible. It impacts on my ability to cut up things, open cans, tie up shoelaces and hold cups and plates.”
Brett became involved in sports from a young age and played soccer for NSW.
“Sports are incredibly important because they get you out in the community and allow you to socialise and meet new people. They also keep you fit and healthy. From my point of view, sports and activities keep my right side from getting tight and weaker and less mobile.”
He was then selected for the Pararoos in 2001, playing for them until 2013.
“It was the most exciting experience of my life. It gave me the opportunity to travel overseas and train and play with the team and make really good friends.”
With the Pararoos, Brett has travelled to Russia, the Ukraine, Holland, the USA, Argentina and Brazil. It was a challenge to play professional teams that train twice a day, whereas the Pararoos meet six times a year at training camps. Initially, they also had to pay a portion of travel expenses, prior to Football Federation Australia (FFA) becoming involved.
Zest Care are major partners of the Pararoos. They also support Brett through the NDIS.
“Zest care has been amazing. When I was first getting NDIS, Mel came out three weeks in a row and spent an hour and a half with me each time, helping me to fill out the forms.”
Brett would recommend that anyone navigating the NDIS for the first time gets an occupational therapist to help fill out the forms.
“I would advise going with a care company like Zest Care and getting the forms filled out professionally the first time.”
“Zest Care are very professional; a great organisation that has helped me on my journey. They go above and beyond to help you.”
Mel and Zest Care help Brett access community and transport services.
“If I need a lift somewhere, I give Zest Care a call. Last week I asked them about getting someone to mow my lawns and they emailed me back with three options. They are very involved in my life.”
Zest Care are honoured to be part of Brett’s life... to be part of his 'everyday' to be extraordinary.
We have over 17 years of experience and a range of in-home plans that have helped thousands of families across New South Wales. To find out more, go to the Zest Care website or call us on (02) 9683 3400.