Male voice - Anthony Bartl
[Description of images on screen :
Motorised wheelchair, driven by Anthony Bartl, going past shops and down an alley.
Anthony in hoist sling being manoeuvred by carer from bed to wheelchair.]
Anthony Bartl: Hi I'm Anthony.
In 1986 at age six while walking home from school I was crossing a busy suburban road when a car hit me and I was rushed to hospital. Once I arrived and my injuries were assessed they were shown to be catastrophic. I had suffered a broken spinal cord; had massive internal bleeding; my liver was lacerated and my left kidney so badly damaged it had to be removed.
Once the spinal cord is broken at a certain level, everything below that point ceases to function. This is why I can't move and why I need a carer to help me get dressed and to get up in to my wheelchair, but everything above the injured point does work which is why I can move my head and I am able to drive my wheelchair with my chin.
The brain and the spinal cord are the only two places in the body that the body can't repair.
Having a disability means that after waking up I can't just jump out of bed and run out the front door. One of these tasks is to have splints fitted; there are a few reasons for this. I can't support myself or hold myself upright due to my disability. As a result I require a chest brace so when I sit up in my wheelchair I won't just flop over. I also wear leg and arm splints. Similarly because I don't move my body anymore; I can't exercise. As a result I need to have my limbs stretched by my carers in order for my limbs to remain flexible.
As I am physically unable to do some things for myself I need the assistance of a carer. Therefore, I have someone with me 24 hours a day seven days a week to help me with whatever I can't do myself. Although my disability is a big part of my life, it isn't everything.
Two of my passions are writing and the Hawthorn Football Club, I won these footballs in a raffle and they take pride of place here in my bedroom. This article was published in the Age in 2005. I am very proud of it as it was the first lengthy article I've had published in a major daily newspaper.
I am currently studying a Bachelor of Media Studies at Latrobe University in Bundoora.
I use a computer to look at emails; to study on the internet and to write. I use a stick in my mouth; known as a Mouth stick to type on the keyboard.
The Internet is a great help for study, I use it to read electronic books, journal articles and newspaper articles online.
Always having my own carer to drive or my own personal chauffeur means that when I'm drunk and out at a pub I don't need to worry at all about getting home again.
Seriously though, having my own car provides a lot of freedom, it means I don't have to wait for an accessible taxi to arrive at my place or face the uncertainty of waiting to see if a low floor tram or bus will arrive.
Now I am on my way to give a disability awareness talk at Bentleigh Park Secondary College.
In 2006 I approached Mooney Valley City Council's Metro Access officer, proposing to speak to school students to raise awareness of disability issues.
"All right good morning everyone, I'm Anthony this is Kim; she will be helping me today. Now I wanted to talk to you a bit about the three kinds of disabilities, the three disabilities someone can get? The first one is hidden so this means you can't see just by looking at someone but if you start talking to them or see how they move then you will soon find out that they have a disability. So the first one's hidden and there are two forms of hidden disability they are intellectual disabilities or Acquired Brain injury disabilities acquired brain injury is when there is damage to the brain."
Through doing these talks I am also aiming to reduce misunderstandings or stereotypes of disability.
It's exciting giving these talks because I am part of the reason why public perceptions about disability are being changed.
To relax and have fun I am just like any other young living life to the full person. I like going out whenever I can to see friends; go to the movies; to go to the pub to see bands and more often than not ending up on the dance floor by the end of the night.
I like to think life is something to be enjoyed. If I didn't enjoy myself; life would just be a bitch. As a result I think you only live once, make the most of it and enjoy it, and enjoy it while you can.