Anthony's Final Farewell to the Youngcare Community

Just over five years ago I began my Youngcare journey. At the time I had no idea how my work with the disability sector would forever change my view of the world. To be honest, from the outset I was fearful that I would not feel as passionate about the cause because I had just completed work in the slums of Africa, Timor Leste and the Philippines. This fear was quickly put to rest on my second day at Youngcare when I visited our Wooloowin home. Within the first 40 minutes of my visit, I was welcomed into the lives of our residents and their families. They shared their story with me and provided wonderful insights in to how Youngcare had transformed their lives. There was a repeating theme in each of their stories. It centred upon passion and unwavering love. Each family had drawn a line in the sand and demanded that their loved one should live with dignity and choice. It was a truly humbling introduction to the Youngcare mission and I was immediately hooked.

If I reflect upon the last five years, many images come to mind that encapsulate the Youngcare mission but the one memory that stoked my passion was my first time sitting on a Youngcare grant panel. It was the simple request from a husband writing on behalf of his wife for Youngcare to consider providing them a double high-low bed. On face value there was nothing remarkable about this request until he provided further insight in to their plight. As the primary carer for his wife, he was now ageing and no longer had the strength to lift his wife out of her wheelchair in to their bed. As a result she was now sleeping on the couch in the living room. His request for a high-low bed centred upon the fact that he knew his life partners health was declining and they just wanted to hold each other close at night. The simplicity of the request floored me. It was one that we could all relate to. For me it is memories like this that will stay with me forever. Youngcare is an extraordinary organisation that works best in the trenches with the people we support. Most of the public will never really see the impact of our work and we are fine with this. Our true motivation lies in the knowledge that we get to be the catalyst in assisting the disability community to live with choice and control. We have the honour of working with extraordinary people who are determined to create a community that embraces diversity and supports those in need.

It has been an honour leading this mission and I remain forever thankful that I have been able to be a small part of the Youngcare story.

Thank you,
Anthony Ryan
Former Youngcare CEO

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