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Ame

Ame's Story

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Ame was born with no arms and only half a leg. She uses her three toes for eating, writing and fulfilling her passion for sailing. In 1997 eight year old Ame won a silver medal at the Australian Access Dinghy C'ships held in Canberra. In 1999 she took out the gold medal in Division 4, sailing against able bodied as well as other disabled sailors and in 2000 came an admirable third in Division 3.

2013 Update

AME REPORTS: In July last year I committed myself to one of the biggest moves of my life. Everyone has life defining moments at some point in their lives and this was mine. I moved from a small seaside town where I lived with my parents, to Petersham, only 10mins drive from the CBD of Sydney, where I live with a housemate and have support workers come in 4 times a day to help me with day to day living. Ever since I was born I’ve lived in small country towns, now living in the biggest city in Australia there are many things to learn and adapt to.

One of the biggest issues I thought I would face would be the supposed reputation that Sydney siders seem to have developed for themselves. Before arriving I feared being robbed, harassed and just the general unpleasant nature of people who are in a hurry in their own lives not to care about anyone else… I am more than happy to report that I was gravely mistaken. Since arriving I have learnt to catch public transport, catching a bus for the first time both with support workers and by myself, I go on regular day outings and am becoming a member of the community. At no point have a felt unsafe or awkward, thankfully people want nothing but to help and keep me safe. Even when I’m out and about on my own I can feel eyes following, not staring eyes but concerned eyes making sure I get on the bus safely or in an elevator without the doors shutting on me. Also as I have found a part time job as a secretary in a small business.

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I am not going to pretend it’s been smooth sailing the whole way, simple things like home sickness or disagreements with support workers can make me question why I moved away from the safety of my parents but then it’s the smile of a stranger or the possibility of walking down to a café that reminds me why I’m doing this.

Not only is it the independent living that a 24year old (whether in a wheelchair or not) needs but it has also brought me closer to my love of sailing. Instead of what used to be a 6-7 hour drive for a weekend of training out of Pittwater is now 40minute drive or 1.5 hours on the bus and I get to come home at night. With this change in location I am now looking forward to the Worlds out of Ireland in August and hopefully can be more proactive in fundraising for such events… and of course there is Rio 2016

NEWS FLASH: I have also been accepted into the University of Sydney studying Bachelor of Psychology, so life is getting busy which is exactly what I was after.

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Right: Ame & Lindsay sailing the SKUD 18 at the 2010 IFDS World Championship in Medemblik, Netherland

2008 Update

In 2007 Ame began attending Wollongong University studying for a Bachelor of Creative Sound. After sailing for ten years Ame is now training in the SKUD18, hoping to one day represent Australia at the Paralympics. Ame's team, "Rockin' the Boat" regularly trains at Rushcutters Bay, Sydney.

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Ame’s 2003 Update

It's five years since I first went sailing. I still get a buzz every time I go out on the water. I now have an Australian Sports Medal and also carried the Olympic Torch through my hometown of Narooma, which was one of the best days in my life.

The National titles are now much more than racing because I get to catch up with friends I've met over the years from sailing. Sir William Deane is one friend I will miss.

I think I've got a little bit braver since I first raced (I now have to listen to Dad instead of Chris). The competition is getting harder (my Mum says this is good for me) and I'm getting older and more experienced.

I have my own Liberty now and really love sailing it because it goes a lot faster!

In October we went to Japan for the International Championships. Even Mum, although she is scared of flying. I looked after her on the plane.

Sailing has given me so much more confidence and more freedom. I'd like to thank Chris Mitchell who got me in my first boat and my family for taking me there.

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