Disabled Australian Athlete born with No Legs is denied a Companion Card because she uses a Skateboard to move around
Paralympian Tracey Barrell has an incredible track record. The single mother-of-two from Australia won two gold medals in Barcelona in 1992 in the Women’s 4X50 metre freestyle and the Women’s 50 metre Butterfly.
Despite being an Olympian off land, Barrell struggles when she isn’t in the water. Born with just one arm and no legs because of the medication her mother took to overcome morning sickness Tracey has been physically disabled since birth.
Without her legs Ms Barrell relies on a skateboard to move herself around…and that’s the only thing which stands in the way of her leading a fully active lifestyle.
Tracey’s request for a companion card was rejected by the government because she couldn’t provide enough evidence she was disabled enough as she was able to use a skateboard.
She told an Australian newspaper: 'It said that I wasn't able to receive one due to the ability that I was still able to use my prescribed aids - my skateboard, motorised scooter and modified car,”
Barrell doesn’t rely on a career although her two sons aged 14 and 11 support their mother as much as they possibly can although the athlete admits to suffering mood behaviors. In an online petition set up by her friend asking the Family and Community Services to change their mind, Barrell revealed…
'I have situational depression, because like my daily life I'm only different or not accepted when I leave the safety of my very thought out space I call my home,
'I still leave my safe zone in the hopes that I can make someone else's life or situation better, that maybe I made enough difference to change things for the better of many,'
A companion card allows a disabled person to take a friend, guardian, carer or partner to gigs, shows and venues free of charge. Barrell says having the card would mean she would be ‘less of a burden’ on her friends and family who accompany her to various events.
Australian guidelines stress you can only qualify for a companion card if you have a permanent disability and need help outside the home. Barrell believes she ticks all the boxes.
'I'm a big activist in disability communities to get people out there and get those services.
'It was a big shock when I got the letter to say I was denied because I didn't have enough evidence’ Barrell added.