Volunteering can be a fun, sociable and rewarding experience. It also provides important help to other people. Many different kinds of organisations use volunteers. One of my volunteer roles is working as a mentor with people with mental illness. The program is called Connecting Mentors and Mates and is organised by Doutta Galla Community Health. As a mentor, I am paired with participants who want to work on improving their connections in the community. My role is to support this person in working towards a goal of their choice.
Graham Clements Organ Donation story - daryl walker parachuting
Daryl went parachuting on his birthday.
Daryl Walker lived with liver disease for 19 years. In 2010 he was told he needed a new liver and was placed on the transplant waiting list. After a number of false starts, he had a liver transplant in 2011. He is one of an increasing number of recipients of organ donations. But unfortunately, only about one per cent of organs of registered donors are suitable for transplant. So many more people need to register to donate their organs.
A sensory garden appeals to our five senses of touch, sight, smell, hearing and taste. In sensory gardens people with disabilities can interact with nature in a safe environment. Various plants are close to paths to invite visitors to touch petals, leaves and branches. There may be sunny and shady areas. Sounds in a garden may include water splashing from a fountain. I visited Vision Australia’s sensory garden in Melbourne. As I moved through the garden I enjoyed the various smells and feeling the different plants. I especially loved the yellow rose bush, the rosemary bush and the Kangaroo Paw.
Sending greetings at Christmas has been around for a long time. It’s an opportunity to keep in touch and it’s a tradition I love. The first message at Christmas was noted over 400 years ago. Then some 130 years later the first Christmas card was developed. In the late 1800s the first line of American Christmas cards were produced. Today there are millions of Christmas cards sent each year. Traditional methods of sending greetings are also now going digital. But I still prefer the old ways of sending cards.
We all have a lot of stuff. Now Christmas is coming. Most of us will be giving and receiving even more stuff. But we don’t have to. We can think differently about giving gifts this Christmas. We can donate to charities. We can also offer our skills and abilities as gifts to others. One skill I have is baking gingerbread. I make it every Christmas for family and friends. I’m sharing the recipe here as a gift to you. I hope you find ways to share your gifts this Christmas.
Dave Jacka raises his arms in the air. He is in a wheelchair on the tarmac next to his light plane.
"If there's a maybe, there's a possibility."
This year Dave Jacka became the first person with quadriplegia to fly solo around Australia. The journey had good and bad moments. Dave dreamed of flying a plane when he was a boy. But when he was 20 years old he had a motorbike accident. After the accident he had only six per cent body function. He still wanted to learn how to fly and it was hard to find somebody to teach him. But years later he learned how to fly. He has a light aircraft with special equipment. Dave has won a Pride of Australia medal for his solo flight around Australia.
Eastern Heart and Sole is a walking group run by Vision Australia and the Heart Foundation. People meet each Tuesday for a five-kilometre walk in the eastern suburb of Boronia in Melbourne. Anyone who enjoys exercising in the fresh air and being social at the same time can come along. When I did the walk there were people with and without a vision impairment. I enjoyed the walk. We stopped for a while in a park .When we finished the walk we had a drink at a local café. We all talked to each other.
The Synesthesia phenomenon distinctly assist those who are blind
Many people believe that the blind live in darkness. This perception, however, is not necessarily true. Ever since I went totally blind as a child, my internal world has been far from dark. I not only visualise my surroundings, but sound, words and numbers are all in distinct colour. This phenomenon is called Synesthesia.
All my life I have loved food and have lived to eat, rather than eaten to live. Life has not been easy having a food addiction. I have had to seek the help of dieticians, nutritionists, psychologists and psychiatrists many times. Often I got the wrong advice. My weight is still a major issue for me, and I am definitely an emotional eater. However now, with the help and support of properly trained and patient professionals and support groups, I am more aware of why I eat too much at times and how to regulate it.
Kidney transplant recipient Twanny leads a rich and fulfilling life.
Twanny was very ill throughout his childhood and adolescence. He was often hospitalised. Because of this, many family holidays and get togethers were ruined. In 1968, Twanny was diagnosed with renal failure. The doctors put him on a special diet. He was also hooked up to a hemo dialysis machine. In October 1971, Twanny had a kidney transplant. Since then, I have good days and bad. Life is a trade off to me. I have side effects from my anti-rejection medication, but I'm still alive and have a very good quality of life.