A new bursary from a former Paralympian will support Bond students with a disability to fulfil their dreams.
Paralympic swimming gold medalist Matthew Levy OAM said he understood the value of financial support and saw funding a scholarship and providing mentoring as a way to give back.
Born at just 25 weeks with cerebral palsy and a vision impairment, Mr Levy found his way to the pool as part of his rehabilitation, but it soon became much more.
He first represented Australia at the 2004 Olympics, won his first medal in 2008 and continued the winning streak right through to the Tokyo Games.
Having fundraised to be able to attend international competitions in his early swimming career, Mr Levy understands the impact of having a little extra financial help when reaching for big goals.
“(When you’re) living with disability it can be hard sometimes to get access to different things and to be able to take advantage of opportunities,” he said.
“I thought there needed to be a way to help break that cycle, and hopefully giving someone a financial boost during this period of their life is helpful.
“Through my lived experience of disability and due to the longevity in terms of my athletic career, I just want to be able to give back to the community.
“I know what it really means to be able to be given the opportunity and I just want to be able to pay that forward.”
Bond University Accessibility and Inclusion officer Alana MacKinnon said this opportunity would build on the University’s work to provide the best possible support and opportunities for students with a disability.
The opportunity to be mentored by someone like Mr Levy was incredibly valuable, she said.
“The chance to build that connection with someone who has had such a thriving and long career is a wonderful opportunity for students,” said Ms MacKinnon.
“Bond already has great services and facilities to support students with disabilities and we’re continuously working to make the University an even more accessible and inclusive place for everyone.
“We’ll continue to look for opportunities and partnerships like this one that could support other students.”