Almanac People: Rick Neagle the leveller in my life

Rick Neagle Image source: Redlegs Museum

Rick Neagle Image source: Redlegs Museum

 

In my life I have met many sports people, at the top of my list re admiration for what he does in his life and gives back to society re the disability sector is Rick Neagle.

 

A person who has red in one eye and blue in the other, I loved Neags 6 goals in the 82 grand final for the mighty Redlegs against the Bays.

 

( Norwood supporters sit back and enjoy spanking Glenelg)

 

Steve Wood said I have got some music ready for the trip to footy park pushes the play button and it was Eye of the Tiger just playing repeatedly oh what a day yes Grizz, Willy, Woodsy and myself singing, Rick Neagle walks on water driving back to the Parade, Norwood Captain Greg Turbill wearing a safari hat as he had been Tiger hunting what great memories and a huge week of celebrating!

 

Neags ruck roved with Geoff Wilson in the Norwood juniors and picked Geoff up in his sports car (get on the end of the queue if you haven’t given Willy a lift). Neags went to Hackney High aka St Peters College so quite correctly was given shit about being a college ‘poof’ and a lair. Neags in all seriousness was obviously a very good player which a certain K. Sheedy was a big fan of and a move to Windy Hill nearly happened at one stage.

 

Neags also played in Norwood’s super star reserves Premiership side of ’86, with Rodney Maynard, Danny Jenkins, Brenton Klaebe, Andrew Aish, Jim Michlanney and captained by Alby Menzel.

 

In Neags’ last year of senior footy he had pre-season left knee surgery, repair of a labral tear to his left shoulder and post season groin surgery, it turned out Neags had muscle disease (Myopathy) which remained undiagnosed for some years and had serious ramifications for his career in his chosen profession as a Sports Physiotherapist, which eventually he was forced to give away.

 

While I knew Neags and got on well with him during his playing days it is since that I have got to know him far more and my admiration has grown in the scheme of things while being a bloody good footballer for Norwood, it is his huge input, work and achievements for the disability sector which has far more importance.

 

Rick has a son in Mitchell who has autism, he was misdiagnosed when young and that caused problems as you can imagine in itself. Mitch is a great kid but is full on, Neags is not only one of the main care givers for Mitch but is also the leader of the political party d4d Dignity for Disability. Now as people who know me realise I love stats, here are some real cold hard important ones:

– 45 per cent unemployment in the disability

– Homelessness is driven by people with disabilities especially those with intellectual and mental health issues (by the way, our prisons are dominated by people with mild intellectual disability and mental health issues. I guess it begs the question: is it better for people without shelter to be housed within a prison? At least the prison has a proper roof and three meals a day.

– 80 per cent of families with disabilities (including intellectual disabilities) break up.

– 75 per cent of people in the disability sector have co-morbidity of mental health issues.

 

Just a tad more important than footy !

 

Neags asked me to coordinate people re handing out how to vote cards for d4d at the last state election when Neags ran for the state seat of Dunstan (formerly Norwood). Now this had a amusing sidelight when it turned out I had been given the federal election locations so the first hour or so was like a mad house on the phone attempting to fix (I was cursing Neags during this time !), it turned out this hadn’t been Rick’s fault.

 

What really stood out on that day was Neags thinking of and helping everyone else and placing himself last.  That night I went to the d4d election night function, I turned up in a shocking mood. As assistant coach of Pembroke OSCC we had been beaten outright. Within five minutes of turning up and seeing the disabilities in the room realising what is really important it smacked me between the eyes, what right did I have to be so pissed off about a Mickey Mouse game of cricket. Neags had proven to be the leveller I need in my life.

 

rick_kelly_TomLynch

Rick and Mitchell presenting Tom Lynch with the showdown medal round 2 2016

 

Rick and Mitchell have come along to quiz nights I have been involved in, it was announced that it was coin toss time, quick as a flash Mitch went to the spot we had done it the year before ( and were again). I looked at Neags I was stunned, Neags said, “oh yeah he takes in a lot more than we give him credit for”. I remember thinking bloody oath he does (I just wish everyone would have a crack at communicating and having a relationship with everyone with any sort of disability).

 

Rick has gone through hell  in recent times where Mitchell has had seizures, having to give him first aid including mouth to mouth resuscitation. Imagine the first real test of your first aid skills is having to save your own child’s life!

Rick and Mitchell with Tom Harley at the Count me in game Norwood v Glenelg 2016

Rick and Mitchell with Tom Harley at the
Count me in game Norwood v Glenelg 2016

 

During the 2016 season Neags asked if I could help with the Count Me In game. Count Me In is the adaption of the What about me song and is a registered foundation that intends to raise monies to apply principles of Universal Design in homes for people with disabilities and in public spaces within the wider mainstream community. The game was between Norwood and Glenelg and was about acknowledging and accepting people with disabilities.  Thank you to Garry Frost the songwriter for allowing the adaption.

 

The game was on a Friday night and I had to organize 40 odd people with various disabilities aka the Tutti choir and their carers, re food and drink wise practice the song and I wish to acknowledge Rachel Leahcar (what a amazing voice and person) and with Pat Rix the head honcho of Tutti choir.

 

I had to get every one in to the ground and set up ready to sing between the league and reserves game. I will say it was as challenging but enormously satisfying couple of hours I have had in my life and Rick it was a privilege to be involved.

 

I had one man with Down Syndrome tell me I was his new best friend and I know this will amaze you I even had a couple of people tell me I was too loud!

 

Count Me In – Rachael Leahcar Feat. The Tutti Choir from Black Empire Studios on Vimeo.

 

( Please click on the link it helps the disability sector financially )

 

Now AFL how about the fact that The Disability Sector is the most vulnerable community of them all and if the AFL were to  be serious about inclusion, then taking on a themed round without any prospects of making a profit from this sector would be the greatest socio-economic issue or cause EVER for the AFL!!! Inclusion of people regardless of the issue = productivity = value add = socio-economic benefit for ALL.

 

If you wish to support a disability themed Round in the AFL please click and sign the petition https://www.change.org/p/count-me-in-the-afl

 

It is a privilege to help Rick Neagle, Kelly Vincent and Anna Tree and MANY other brilliant people (Neags add anyone you wish)

 

Rick in his role as leader of the d4d party must represent the whole disability sector (including the mental health space, the aging sector, homelessness and anyone else who is disadvantaged or discriminated against in our communities) representing so many different disabilities all of which thinks there’s is the most important cause which requires a hell of a lot of tact and quick this involves a huge amount of networking which takes up a incredible amount of time constantly thinking on his feet for the best overall outcom  not only for the party but society in general help care for Mitch and then worry about his own life I admit I am buggered how he does it ! Words do not do Rick Neagle justice so how bout the most important words in the world.

Thank YOU!

Comments

  1. Michael Rehn says:

    Rick Neagle, always remembered for his six goal haul in the 1982 Grand Final is now getting ever bigger results kicking goals for the disability sector through D for D and Count Me In. We all salute the work you’re doing Rick !!!!

  2. Wren Thomas says:

    Great article.

  3. Great read and such a worthwhile cause

  4. Barry Solomon says:

    A genuine and completely decent person as well as an outstanding footballer, congrats Rick on everything uve achieved in life and having had an autistic nephew it is indeed a full time gig. The autistic kids have got incredibly beautiful souls and good luck always. To u Mal, once again u step up and show the Norwood football club and its family in the most magnificent light. Cheers n love ya passion.

  5. Great player great guy loved watching him play remember Rick Fortis in procella stay committed passionate and strong wish you well With all your endeavours

  6. Greg "DGM" Moody says:

    Wonderful article Rulebook. Having a daughter with a disability (IDIC 15 – duplication of chromosome 15 in 75+% of her body cells), I know first hand how challenging life can get as a 24/7 carer for a 15 year old. However Gemma (my daughter) can be a “life leveler” as well – always happy, loves going to the football to watch the Adelaide Crows and puts a smile on the faces of our friends as she takes the ‘mickey’ out of them by copying the sounds of their voices, comments and laughs. Rick Neagle is a legend for what he does for children and adults with disabilities and their carers. I’m lucky to say that I am still happily married, but I can fully understand how (unfortunately) having a child with any disability can place an enormous strain on a couple’s relationship and their family.

  7. There has been great services delivered in Victoria for disabled people playing footy for around 20yrs thanks to Lewis company&associates .

  8. Puts life in perspective, need more people like him.

  9. Great read Book. Great cause & a very worthy AFL theme round.

  10. Well said for a very important cause. Puts us all on an even keel!

  11. That was a fantastic article Malcolm. I remember Rick in his playing days, great footballer. And what he is doing for people like me, who have a disability, is just wonderful.

  12. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Thanks Michael spot on thanks,Wren thanks Sally,thanks Bazz greatly appreciated thanks Rob,GM all the best people directly involved really understand the gist of this article.thanks,Bazz and bloody important itis two.thanks Wes,Howie and Boges love every one to share the article,Neags deserves it

  13. Jeff Milton says:

    What a great job Rick Neagle does in the community and who can forget his performance in the 1982 GF.

  14. Dave Brown says:

    I for the most part missed Rick as a player, Rulebook, but am full of admiration for the work he does with d4d and Count Me In. Kelly Vincent is an important voice in our Legislative Council and has my vote in 2018.

  15. Well done Mal (and Rick!)

  16. Brett Zorzi says:

    3 votes again Rulebook.
    Rick is an amazing individual, a genuine person who I’m glad to call a mate. He has kicked more goals off the field then on it. As a father myself, he his someone I admire and always draw inspiration from his deeds.
    If there is anyone who deserves a page to himself, it’s Rick Neagle. Well done Malcolm.

  17. Geoff Wilson says:

    Another great article Malcolm and thanks for the mention. Neags was a very talented player whose league career was far to short. You only have to look at the 82 GF to see how talented he was. Then there was all his years as the club physio. He is also a wonderful person which is a very important and common trait at Norwood. He is an amazing Dad to his son Mitchell. Then there is all the incredible work he does for D for D and count me in
    A truly incredible Man.
    I always look forward to catching up with Neags and hosting him and some of the other Norwood past players in The Coopers Box in the coming season and season’s.
    All The Best Neags.

  18. A great cause and a very inspiring article Book. Alot of admiration for people like Rick who devote so much time and energy to assist others. When you read and hear about these things it puts your own issues into a new perspective.

  19. You did Rick proud mate. Very inspiration young man !! Well written champ

  20. Neil Anderson says:

    I hadn’t made a comment yet thinking it was another Red-Leg player story only. Your email prompted me to check it out and I’m glad I did.
    Firstly thanks for steering me away from selfishly scanning Bulldog stories. Secondly I understand the struggles that Rick and his son face daily just to get by, never mind planning for the future…for both of them.
    I have an adult son with Aspergers which is on the lower end of the Autism Spectrum. He’s good verbally with a great memory for facts and figures, but struggles socially. It’s been a long haul for my wife and myself and after reading those stats on parents not coping, I think we have done a fairly good job and continue to do so. But we haven’t got the energy and drive to do more for others with disabilities in the community. So that is where Rick should get all the praise for what he does and hopefully funding to keep the programs going.
    By the way if some of the kids were saying you were too loud, it would have been a classic autism response. They hate loud noises and crowds. My biggest regret has been not being able to take my son to see the mighty Bulldogs play.
    Thank you Malcolm for al the work you do with people less fortunate than yourself.

  21. Ryan Sheridan says:

    Great article Rulebook

  22. Rick Neagle says:

    Life experiences can be a leveller on many levels. When I’m feeling frustrated, it’s not hard to adore what you have. Mitchell has been my greatest teacher. At its zenith he has taught me patience, and I am still learning. He loves unconditionally too. I consider myself lucky. Two beautiful children, Taylah and Mitchell. There are two people that are levellers for me, Peter Motley and Garry Connor. Mots as we all know had his footy career cut short by a car accident leaving Princes Park after a training session with Carlton FC. And my good mate Garry has two children from a second marriage (both almost in their teenage years) with autism . Both are non verbal and still toile ting with assistance and the youngest self harming. “The test in life is not the triumph but rather the struggle”

  23. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Terrific work Rick and Book. So much more needs to be done to get people who have different abilities to feel part of community, work and have healthy relationships. Govt has much to answer for. Kudos to you both.

  24. Love your work Rick and Book.

  25. Enjoyed reading your piece here Malcom… You cover it well with your connection and friendship with Rick.

    I have often noticed that whilst many schools , state, catholic ect, seem to make exceptional efforts in providing for kids with a variety of disabilities, sporting clubs seem less able to cope and/or have limited resources to support these same kids.

    In particular, kids who don’t have physical disabilities, but who may have some spectrum/autism issues as you have described above…..many are physically capable, but lack support/encouragement for a variety of reasons…parents can find it very difficult to navigate their child’s future path into a given sport and end up letting it go because it’s too hard.

    Not an easy road when you consider the value a team sport has in the life of a growing child.

  26. Great article mate. Sport can consume our lives sometimes, but life has a way of reminding us about what really matters.

  27. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Thanks Milts,Dave I totally agree,thanks Sam,Zorza spot on,thanks Geoff,Jags re perspective was a large part of writing the article and a intended message thank you,Moults appreciated,thanks Ryan.
    Neags your friendship is truly valued spending time with you and Mitch is a privilege you are a remarkable person your attitude to life and always keep having a crack is a lesson to all of us,Mots and Garry are incredible individuals also.Phillip couldn’t agree more.thanks,TC.Kate thank you and yes just so many ways sporting clubs and society desperately needs to improve re acceptance and involvement re the disability sector ( love any 1 to share the article thank you)

  28. Great article and a great cause, we need more people like him

  29. Brenton Klaebe says:

    Awesome stuff Neags.. People who need extra support need good people like yourself to represent them and your work has made so many of us stand up and take notice.. Football is nothing in comparison to what type of challenges we face in life and you do an awesome job..!!!!!!! Something I love about our club is our motto “FORTIS IN PROCELLA” I often think of those words when a challenge pops up.. Keep up the great work Neags you’ve certainly inspired me to be a person who tries to give.. It’s one of the most generous things we can do is to give and want nothing in return.. You’re a footy legend and also a legend of a bloke.. GO MITCHY..!! Tell dad to help you post a few more of those recipes mate.. Haven’t seen one for a while..

  30. Great work again Malcolm

  31. Thanks RB. Wonderful piece about a wonderful person. Living life with someone who has a disability is never boring!! It’s tough, but never boring. More power to Rick and the others who undertake this work.

  32. Jill Tathra says:

    Excellent article mate.

    We have a young fellow with a disability that helps deliver meals for us and he’s also part of the disabilities gardening group that work at the retirement places and such. Lovely fellow that now has his own unit, goes home to Mum and Dad some nights. He was amazing, after the first time he did the round with me he knew exactly where everyone live, brilliant memory that I wish I had!

    Congratulations to all who do so much for these folk who are so often forgotten when grants are handed out. If we don`t help them its almost a case of who will.

  33. Another great article. Disability and mental illness are serious issues that should be taken more seriously and more to be done to raise awareness.

  34. Another great article ‘Book. Excellent reminder that while sport/footy can do much that is good there are others issues to consider.

    Looking forward to the next in this series.

  35. Great article Rulebook, I admire everything that you guys do

  36. G’day Malcolm ‘Rulebook’,

    Thanks for sharing the story and I am impressed with what Rick Neagle has done on and off the field. It’s great to read your article!

    As having knowledge of Asperger’s, many people with the condition are struggling with playing a team sport. It must be hard for Mitchell to get involved in playing footy.

    I understand that these types of people have good talents and sadly gaps between pros and cons are big. Therefore I think they should have a job where their strengths and talents are used the most. For example, those who have interests in footy can’t be a footballer but a footy writer.

    And I hope AFL will host a game or week for an opportunity where spectators will gain knowledge of autism. St Kilda hosts Maddie’s Match for Bone Marrow Failure and Pride Match for LGBTIQ community. Then why not for autism?

    I wish all the best to Rick, Mitch and the family.

    Cheers

    Yoshi

  37. Troy Hancox says:

    Very nice!!!
    Always great to see people give back to society
    Hats off indeed .

  38. The Philby says:

    G’day Rulebook,

    Thank you for sharing this story, mate – absolutely admire the amazing work done by Neags and your good self. (Close to home for me – I’ve previously dealt with my own mental health issues, Mum has just retired after nearly twenty years working with the disabled at Minda.)

    There are a lot of passionate footy fans, who happen to have a disability and as such, face barriers in their everyday lives. Would be brilliant for the AFL to support these barrackers and promote inclusion – it’s the right thing to do!

  39. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Keep ’em coming ‘Book. Keep it going Rick.

    Perspective is a wonderful thing to have. Thanks for giving us all another dose.

  40. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Brad v much so thanks,Campbell,Klaebe’s superbly put and our motto,FORTIS IN PROCELLA truly applies to Neags thanks,Brenton.Dips yes I can see you nodding reading the article thank you and I always love your stories re your super star daughter,!thanks,Jill your comment resonates just wish that society would do so much more in general.Cameron thank you.Mickey thank you writing the article and commenting is again a great reminder about what really matters.thanks,Lawry.thanks,Yoshi yes I desperately hope the afl have a themed round there is a huge amount of frustration from,Neags( and the rest of us) re that matter at present.thanks,Troy.Philby all the best thank you and very much so.thanks Swish while I enjoyed writing the other articles and my admiration for those individuals is huge this one is more important in that if one extra person decides to volunteer there help re the disability sector or thinks more about there relationships with people with in the sector the article is a success Please every one share the article by what ever social media means you can the issue is just so important !

  41. Another great article Mal. Disabilities are truly a great leveler in life and really bring into perspective what is important.
    Hats off to Rick for the work he is doing in this sector.

  42. Michael Sexton says:

    Malcolm a wonderful piece about a good man. Rick (along with David Holst and Neil Sachse) have taught me much about life by the way they live it.

  43. Great article Malcolm puts everything in perspective. We have to play the cards we are dealt the best we can.

  44. Matt Zurbo says:

    So good Rulebook. So good Neagle. These things are so much bigger than footy. Mal, you have become a totally A1writer/observer of the game in no time. What a pleasure to read such stuff.

    If you barracked for my bush club we would soon have fans the world over!

  45. Good guy.
    Great cause.
    Ur man crush.
    OUT!!!

  46. Peter Chenoweth says:

    Another great article Mal. Life is all about learning from others stories so that we ourselves can change for better. This is indeed a great story. Hats off Rick you have my vote.

  47. Thanks for writing this piece Rulebook. It’s an important piece. As Mike Sexton says, much is to be learnt from people like Rick. Inspirational.

  48. Great read Malcolm. Sounds like Neags is one of life’s top blokes. Well done for highlighting him and the cause.

  49. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Thanks Steve ( every time,eye of the tiger comes on I think of you )Michael likewise spot the n with every single word.thanks,Raj,Old dog greatly appreciated.Jamesey yep definitely a man crush and bloody proud of it.Peter C,JTH,Peter T thank you and yes it is vital we educate,inform and encourage re involvement with the whole disability sector.When I said to Neags I wished to write about him he immediately replied I am not up with the Norwood champions you have written about( Kieran McGuineess,John Wynne,Michael Aish and Garry McIntosh) I said your story is much more than just footy and in all honesty far more important as always thinking about every one else before himself he said make sure you focus on the disabilty sector as I titled my article re Kmac great footballer better bloke exactly the same applies to Neags ( Please keep sharing the story,Neags well and truly deserves it and the disability sector needs all the publicity and awareness we can muster ) thank you

  50. charlie brown says:

    Fabulous article Malcolm. Really admire the work that you and Rick are doing.
    I did try to sign the petition but it appears to have closed.
    I have also become a member of D4D.
    In addition to Rick being a good footballer, you may already be aware that Rick was an accomplished schoolboy wicketkeeper. Don’t think he played cricket after school?

  51. Sam McEWen says:

    Great Article Malcolm. Agree there should be an AFL Disability round

  52. Luke Reynolds says:

    Great piece Malcom. Very sobering statistics re disabilities that are much, much higher than I’d have guessed.

    And great work by R.Neagle. Deserving of credit for his work in the disability sector.

    Loved the highlights from ’82. Fast forwarded to the GF, he could play. Looked a high quality game.

  53. Darryl Barker says:

    Another great article Malcolm! I would have been about 10 or 11 in 82 or 83. Watched Norwood play at Footy Park and saw Rick kick a few. I was at Norwood Bowl that night still in my Redlegs gear when a slightly intoxicated bloke asked me about the game. He said ‘I’m Rick Neagle’. I said no you’re not! He showed me his uni ID card to ptove it, I nearly fell over with excitement. Rick gave me that ID card which I think I might still have somewhere. A special bloke that provided me with a precious childhood memory.

  54. Rick Neagle says:

    Hi Daryl. I remember you. That was at the pinball machines at the rear of Norwood Bowls. Thanks for the compliment

  55. Darryl Barker says:

    That was a lot of years ago! You’ve gone on to do even greater things. You’re sn inspiration mate. But thanks for my memories.

  56. G’day Rulebook, great article and this one struck a chord with me.
    Our son has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (in May this year) and our lives have changed significantly since then.
    Sadly there’s not enough that gets done to support those with ASD and their families, the level of education for the general public needs to be improved too.
    We’ve only had one occasion where someone has commented on our son’s when he was “acting up.”
    We had to let them know that he actually had ASD and that his behaviour wasn’t him being naughty but was due to different reasons.
    The level of assistance we’ve had from his school has been fantastic, so much so that we nominated both the school and the special needs teacher for Autism SA awards.
    I think it’s wonderful the work that Rick Neagle and all of those involved in making the world more accessible and dignified for those with disabilities and I wish them all the best.
    Cheers, Steve.

  57. It has been a pleasure to meet Rick and Mitchell. Happy to sign the petition. Cheers, Shane

  58. Jenni McNamara says:

    Great article very informative and interesting great career a wonderful tribute for Rick and the Team for Dignity for Disability who are all doing amazing things to improve many different areas for our Community!

  59. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Thanks Charlie appreciated re d4d and yes a few people have remarked about his cricket prowess and no I don’t think he played cricket after leaving school ( Neags Please confirm ? ) thanks Smack,Luke yes the stats are sobering to say the least( Neags any to add ? ) Thanks Darryl good story.Steve your comment well and truly struck a chord good luck ! Shane yes it was always great to have Rick and Mitch at Pembroke functions.thanks,Jenni and very much so

  60. Michael Aish says:

    Very underrated player was Rick. His Grand Final effort against the Bays was sensational. Works tirelessly for the Dignity for Disability. Great read Malcolm

  61. Rick Neagle says:

    I want to thank everyone for your support. I have read evry comment and it gives me great satisfaction and more energy to continue on my journey to give Mitchell and others more opportunities to be included in our society. And I wish to acknowledge my old school mate Richard ”Charlie’ Brown, thank you for your suppirt of d4d!!!

  62. Good one ‘book,
    I will forward this to my daughter Maddy who is studying disability education at Flinders University. She recently returned from three weeks in Brunei working with adults and children with autism. Interestingly the incidence of autism is the same in different cultures and countries.

  63. Lovely to see the bromance blossoming. Please keep me informed of developments. Great work both of you. I reckon the new name is a winner Ricko – the Dignity party. Perfect. Well done.

  64. Hi Malcolm,
    Great to read about the efforts of your friend Rick. Did he won the seat in the election or at least come close? There’s an old saying in the disability sector, “there are no votes in disability”. I really hope that’s changing now with the NDIS being implemented. I still think we parents of children with disabilities of whatever kind, will always have to fight for our kids, to ensure they get what they need and deserve, no matter what scheme is the flavour of the government of the day.
    I wear 2 hats. I have 35 years experience as a professional in the disability sector and I’m the parent of a gorgeous girl with autism, intellectual disability and yes she has associated mental health issues. I’m afraid I’m one of the statistics with my marriage crumbling 7 years ago under the weight of grief, pressure, financial problems due to the enormous expense of all the necessary therapists in order to give our girl the best chance we could… An all too common story as you pointed out.
    As much as I’ve had sadness, disbelief, confusion and anger in my life over the past 19 years I have also had incredible highs, joy and awe at the achievements my daughter has made. I wouldn’t change a thing, a second, an experience and I definitely wouldn’t change her.

    A very nice read, a very touching one for me. I wish Rick and Mitchell all the best and I hope they achieve everything they have set out to do. And yes, I’d love to see an AFL round dedicated to inclusion of people living with disability. That would be amazing. ?

  65. Barb Jamieson says:

    Hi Malcolm
    I’m always interested in your comments , you have great insight not only into the game , but the personalities , the lives and often , their off field private battles that we don’t always see or understand
    This was pretty close to home for me , as I have a daughter who is intellectually and physically disabled , and as a young parent , one of the biggest issues I struggled with was the lack of understanding and empathy from the general population , and the lack of inclusion .
    One of the things I learned , and obviously Rick and his family learned was we are not special , and our children are not special , but they do have special needs , but more importantly than that , as you go through life , what is special is the people who choose to participate in your journey with your son or daughter .
    In the wonderful world of football , the team spirit outside of the game often blows me away .
    I love the work that this man is doing , I love that you have become involved , and that you have gained some insight into how inclusion can transform the life of a person who is isolated and ostracised simply because they don’t fit into the “box”
    Keep up the interaction Malcolm, what you and Rick are doing is priceless, but what you will get back will also be priceless too .
    Cheers

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