Story of the Month: Kyle Potgieter

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Congratulations to our first Scholarship recipient Kyle Potgieter.

Kyle Potgieter is one of a triplet of three boys. He was born with Leber Congenital Amaurosis, a rare genetic eye disorder. Kyle is legally blind with only 3% vision in one eye and none in the other.  In layman’s terms, imagine a foggy shower curtain covered in black spots and then try to see through the spots. Or if you were to use a biro, take out the ink cartridge, try to look through the barrel and you might just get an idea of how Kyle sees things on a daily basis.

Imagine then running on an open track with only a guide runner beside you to make sure you stay in your lane, always aiming for a personal best and come home with the best time in your category.  Sport for Kyle is not all about winning, though.  It is about participating and giving back. The very ethos that A4K subscribes to. It is about opportunities that come about due to working hard at something and persevering with something no matter how hard it gets.

Kyle Potgieter is a wonderful example of our scholarship criteria. Dedicated, determined and motivated, he continues to train hard and achieve at the best level he can in his sports and school.

At school, he has participated in every school carnival including athletics, swimming, and cross-country. He has actively sought out his own assistance for guide runners and has made sacrifices with his time and resources to focus on his athletics and always to strive for his personal best. He does not allow disability to stand in his way of his sport including team sports. He is driven to do his best in athletics through consistent hard work and extensive training.

The A4K Scholarship recognises students who demonstrate initiative, teamwork, sportsmanship and fair play through participation in a sport or a variety of sports and who displays potential to achieve at their personal best level.

Kyle Potgieter is a very worthy recipient of an Aspirations4Kids in Sport Scholarship which will assist Kyle to continue on his sporting journey.

Story of the Month: Ryan Woodrow

Ryan Woodrow pitching

Being a teenager is a balancing act and juggling school, sport and life is pretty hectic for any teenager. Then throw in playing sport at a high level and managing blood glucose levels while doing all this and you have a pretty amazing person. Ryan Woodrow is an aspiring and talented baseball player, keen to play and represent Queensland at the highest level. After that, maybe a college scholarship in the USA?

Ryan Woodrow was diagnosed with type 1 Diabetes in 2014 – a medical condition that requires 24/7 monitoring of blood glucose levels (BGL). Ryan’s life with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) means he is dependent on insulin which he receives through a continuous intravenous line using a Medtronic insulin pump. He self manages his diabetes and is under a pretty tight medical regime. Participating in baseball assists Ryan to manage his sugar levels and is excellent for his mental wellbeing and overall fitness. Playing sport has assisted him to accept his diagnosis and to maintain some normality and routine with school, working part time and learning to drive. All pretty normal stuff for any teenager.

RW Goal QLD

Ryan has never rebelled against the disease, understanding his restrictions and taking it in his stride. His family has never said no to playing any sport and since 2008, Ryan has been playing and excelling in Baseball.

Starting with Rookie ball, moving into the Little League Majors and up through the divisions, Ryan has continued to play and represent at district, regional, state and national levels receiving a swag of awards along the way. Ryan is a “lefty”, batting and throwing left-handed and on the field plays positions of pitcher, 1st baseman and outfield.

He has been named shadow several times for Qld, and this year attended the 2017 QSS Baseball State Championships in Ipswich representing Met North who finished in first place in pool B to advance to the final against Met East. Met North finished with a hard fought for silver medal. Ryan was named in the top 20 players and now has been chosen to play for Queensland in May this year at the School Sport Australian Baseball Championships.

This year Aspirations4Kids in Sport introduced a new cause of Chronic Illness to support Queenslanders facing unique challenges to be able to participate in sport. It is Queensland kids like Ryan that support our ethos of a ‘hand up’ rather than a ‘hand out’ and A4K in Sport are pleased and excited to be on this sporting journey with him.

Watch this space!

Family and Community

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Aspirations4Kids in Sport beneficiary and Ambassador Sabteca “Tilly” Fejo has some clear goals for one so young. This talented North Queensland athlete, who has represented in Basketball, Track and Field, Netball, Rugby League and Touch Football is hoping that her skills on the sporting field will help her gain a university placement so she can become an accountant. Tilly then hopes to return to Innisfail and use her skills to continue her family’s work within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Racing the Clock

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Indooroopilly State High School student Sekou Kanneh is literally racing the clock as he strives to get his 100m time under the magic 11 seconds before the end of 2015. The profoundly deaf athlete has overcome some injuries of late to post a Queensland record for a 13 year old over the distance. Sekou is also making great strides off the track having recently gone out of his way to share his experience with another young deaf athlete in the hope that he can make the road she has to travel a little easier.

Ambassadors to Rio

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Breast Stroke

With a bit of luck, and a lot of hard work, Aspirations4Kids in Sport could have two Ambassadors in Rio come 2016. While there is still a lot of laps to be swum, being selected in the Australian Paralympic team for Rio is the ultimate goal for Lakeisha “Lucky” Patterson and Brenden Hall. “Lucky” is currently world ranked in the 50m, 100m and 400m freestyle as well as the 100m backstroke and the relays. Similarly Brenden, a current world champion, is hoping to qualify in the 50m, 100m and 400 freestyle, 100m backstroke and butterfly, the 200m IM and the relays.

Grace “The Swing Doctor” Zylstra

Grace-Zylstra

Aspirations4Kids in Sport beneficiary and former Runcorn State High School student Grace Zylstra is about to complete her first year of a 3 year Bachelor of Biomedical Science degree at QUT. Grace, who was awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship, has set herself a goal of obtaining her PHD and specialising in neuroscience. Along the way, she is training three nights a week and playing every weekend in the hope of making the Queensland Open Women’s Baseball team to compete at the National Championships in Canberra. A strong hitter, Grace will be doing everything she can to impress the selectors and one day make the National Open Women’s Baseball team.

Story Of The Month: Lakeisha Patterson

Breast Stroke

Ready. Set. Go! If only life was so simple… As an athlete with a disability we are always getting ready. Set. Well that’s the easy part. Go…. That’s the tricky part.  Preparation is always the key ingredient with plenty of support, and self-belief that there are no limitations.

My name is Lakeisha Patterson, otherwise known as Lucky in the swimming world, I am 15 years old with Cerebral Palsy, Early onset Parkinson’s Disease, Epilepsy and Micrographia, to name a few, ha.  Life is challenging at times, even without a disability. But if you surround yourself in the right environment, and keep your eyes open, you shall surely discover many opportunities as I have.

Lucky

I started swimming to gain a pain free day. With incredible encouragement from a learn to swim coach who never put limitations on me, I gained more strength every day. That everyday became a lifestyle in and out of the water that created many opportunities for greatness.

When all is going great, the medal collection expands. My Sponsor, my mum then took on extra jobs to keep my dream alive. To start my Dream of becoming an Australian Para Olympic Swimmer. At the time it seemed like a dream and then reality came I made the Australian Para Swim Team. My amazing mum who I relied on to get up at 3.30am every morning to drive me 90 minutes to training with nutrition prepared twice a day became ill.

When your support falls, so does all hope? Digging deep into your Faith makes nothing else matter. But when Charity comes in the form of a Blessing as has the State Greats Program, Hope is restored to allow me to continue my dream. I have just returned from competing in Brazil bringing home a Wapping 3 Gold, 5 Silver and a Bronze Medal in the lead up to hopefully Commonwealth Games and Para Pan Pacific Games to follow.

All dreams are achievable, and hope can be restored with a blessing from Future State Greats. To learn that there was a support network of wonderful giving people also Business that are keen to invest in an athlete is really quite wonderful.

I can’t THANK Future State Greats enough, for making a difference in my and my family’s life. The funding will enable me to continue my hectic Training schedule, assist with travel and uniform costs, and give my biggest supporter, my widowed mum who always ensure she puts myself and two sisters first always, support.

To create an Athlete not only requires motivation, persistence, and determination. The key ingredient is Commitment and support. Whether it be able body, or Disability, young or aged. Life is going to be moderately challenging, but success is possible. Support network provides individuals with incentive and encouragement. The glue to any successful performance is the Culture that is created. That’s why Future State Greats is such a great investment in our future.

As I dive through the steam rising above the lane ropes in the pool every day, I remind myself of a fortunate gift I have in swimming. To gain a pain free day, clearing my mind ready to take on the World at School each day and be Thankful of my Sponsor and greatest supporter in life. My Mum, My sisters and My Community that love being part of my journey.

Thank you Future State Greats for investing in me and my family.

Story of the Month – Grace Zylstra

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Year 11 Runcorn State High School student Grace Zylstra first started playing baseball when she was 12 years old and it was generally accepted that she would eventually move to softball when the boys started getting stronger. Grace obviously never got the memo as she has gone from strength to strength in the sport for which she lives and breathes.

Earlier this year, Grace became the first female to be selected in the Under 18 Metropolitan West baseball team to compete at the State Championships. At club level, Grace was selected in the Open Queensland Women’s baseball team where she was the youngest player in the team. Grace collected the “Under 15 Queensland Representative Female Baseball Player of the Year” award and was one of 40 players to be part of a scholarship program at QBA/QAS. Grace has since been selected in the Australian under 18 Women’s Baseball team.

Her efforts attracted the attention of scouts from the US College system who wanted Grace to be a part of their softball program however, as they do not have a women’s baseball league in the USA, Grace has set her sights on Japan and cracking their professional women’s baseball competition.

But Grace is not simply an achiever in sport as she proved when she collected six academic awards including two prestigious awards at Runcorn State High. Grace also studies Japanese just in case that opportunity to play baseball in Japan presents itself!

Grace attributes much of her success to her mother Febe who, as a single parent, has made many personal and financial sacrifices to ensure that Grace is given every opportunity to achieve her goals. In a very unselfish act and showing maturity beyond her years, Grace told her mother that she did not need to attend all the state and national championships because she knew that it was causing her mother financial hardship. Fortunately, with the help of the greater school community, local businesses and Future State Greats, Grace has been able to continue her development in the sport.

Future State Great acknowledges Grace as a wonderful ambassador for her school, club and athletes in general and we wish her every success for the future.

Montanna McAvoy’s Recent Achievements

Montanna McAvoy

They must have more hours in the day up Innisfail way judging by Montanna McAvoy’s recent sporting results. The Trinity Anglican School student and 2012 Future State Great Elite representative has set the 13 age record in Cross Country, been selected in the Peninsula Under 15 Touch Football side, named as Vice Captain in the honourary QLD Vigoro team, selected in the FNQ Heat Under 13 soccer representative team and, to top it off, was the NQ Adventure Sports Open winner of the annual “Dirty Thirty” Endurance race. All in 2013!

I am tired from simply listing all of the achievements! Well done Montanna and well done to the supportive family.

Julia Algie To Compete in 2013 Deaflympics

Julia Algie

2012 Future State Great Elite swimmer Julia Algie is heading off on the trip of a lifetime as part of the Australian Deaf Swimming team to Sofia Bulgaria who are hosting the 2013 Deaflympics.

Judging by her current form, Julia is set to fire having set three National Age Deaf Records and 5 Queensland Age Deaf Records at the recent State and National championships. A shining example of not letting adversity stand in the way of achievement, Julia has also represented in Cross Country, Netball and Softball.

Parents Jeanette and Michael put it beautifully when they wrote “We are so grateful that Julia has embraced sport and that sport has also embraced Julia”.

Good luck in Sofia Julia!

David Coulthard Recognised for Outstanding Achievements in Cricket

David Coulthard

2012 Future State Great Elite award winner David Coulthard was recognised recently for his outstanding achievements in cricket. Having returned from a successful tour of the United Arab Emirates with the National Under 16 Schoolboy team, David was honoured to receive the Warren Maher Memorial trophy as the Under 21 player of the year for Cricket’s Far North.

In addition, David was a joint winner of the Under 17 Country player of the year and will be captaining the Under 19 Country team to play City as a lead up to the Bulls Masters Cairns carnival. In between seasons at the moment, David is busy handling the increased workload associated with moving into Grade 11 at Mossman State High School.

Keep up the great work both in the class room and on the pitch David. Well done.

Jessica Street Turns To The Track

Jessica Street

15 year old Oakey athlete Jessica Street was born with a degenerative hearing impairment and when she received her cochlear implant in 2010, she was forced to give up contact sports. Rather than let the disability define her, Jessica turned to track and field and over the past 3 years she amassed an impressive list of achievements.

Her performances qualified her for the World Deaf games in Sofia Bulgaria however, as the family of 7 have suffered some tough times in recent years, the cost was simply too much to afford. Jessica’s disability was diagnosed late and this severely affected her academic development but, true to form, she is now on target to complete grade 11 in 2013 and her senior certificate after that so that she can one day be a personal trainer and help others.

With mum Sonya’s hands full looking after the large family (Jessica’s younger brother also has a hearing impairment), Grandma Ann Wing transports Jessica to training and events. This month Jessica will represent Darling Downs region at the State Cross Country championships and one day she believes she will represent Australia.

With what Jessica and her family have already overcome, Future State Greats doubts there is any limit to what Jessica can achieve in her future. Good luck in Bundaberg Jessica!!