I never dreamed of being a television presenter. I have always wanted a role in the media. I want to be a writer. I never thought I'd be given the opportunity to present and host on a TV show. But last year I saw an article on DiVine inviting people to audition for Channel 31's No Limits. I thought I would audition and got the job.
No Limits is a program about disability. It is made by people with a disability. It is currently in its 11th season. It is a great opportunity for people with disabilities to learn and participate in the media. No Limits allows people with disabilities to tell their own stories in the media with dignity, humour and intelligence. I believe it accurately reflects disability and disability issues in society. It is empowering for the cast, crew and audience.
I have been a presenter since July 2010. I have learnt interview and research skills. I have also spoken at length about disability issues. I have learnt about a range of disabilities. I have also learnt about people's challenges and how they manage them. But I'm still working on speaking fluent autocue.
I particularly enjoy interviewing guests on No Limits. It is a real privilege to enable them to tell their stories. They are always so excited to be able to appear on television. They appreciate the chance to have their voice heard by a large audience.
I know my work on No Limits has had an impact on my immediate circle of friends and colleagues. Most of them do not have disabilities but watch the show. I have also had friends and colleagues willing to star in comedy sketches that I have written. One friend said her whole family had a big discussion about whether they'd like to be cured of their illnesses after watching an episode.
The No Limits cast and crew are intelligent, dedicated and highly skilled. They have also been very supportive. I have formed some valuable networks. More importantly, I have made some great friends. They understand the difficulties and milestones of having a disability or chronic illness.
The work we do on No Limits is voluntary. Some of us have full-time jobs in addition to our roles in the cast and crew. We do the show because we love it. We know it's educating the wider community about disability. It's also giving people with disabilities a chance to have a voice in the media.
I volunteer on No Limits to make a difference to others through education, positive media, support, humour and fun. I want to help people manage and accept their own chronic illnesses and disabilities. I also want to influence the way people perceive disability. I may not be able to stamp out discrimination worldwide. But I could make someone think twice about commenting on someone's appearance or ability. Perhaps they might instead take the time to get to know someone better.
I am thankful for having my chronic illness. Often it's a real hassle. It often rudely interrupts my life and can be very painful. But it's afforded me so many opportunities. Perhaps if I didn't have a chronic illness then I wouldn't have the privilege to be a presenter on Australian television.
I was once told that it is good that I am working and not locked away somewhere because of the way I looked. I hope the woman who told me that happens to see me on No Limits.