Paralympic athlete, global adventurer and accessibility advocate Nicholas Gleeson will share his inspiring story with the community as Campbelltown City’s Australia Day Ambassador.
Mr Gleeson, who has been blind since age seven, will attend Council’s official Australia Day ceremony at Ingleburn’s Greg Percival Community Centre on Saturday 26 January from 9am.
“I am looking forward to welcoming Mr Gleeson to our city on such an important day as Australia Day,’’ said Mayor George Brticevic said.
“Over many years, Mr Gleeson has built up a reputation as a motivational speaker and I am sure everyone in our community will gain inspiration from his life story of overcoming adversity and the challenges of living with blindness,’’ Cr Brticevic said.
Born in the Melbourne suburb of Broadmeadows, Mr Gleeson was seven when an electronic swinging supermarket door collided with the side of his head, causing a retinal detachment.
Mr Gleeson has not let blindness stop him from achieving his dreams and his achievements include reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, trekking the Simpson Desert, climbing to Everest base camp, running the New York Marathon three times and representing Australia at the New York Paralympics in 1984.
Mr Gleeson has also played blind cricket (which is similar to the traditional game, but using an audible ball) for almost 20 seasons.
He attended a boarding school for children who are blind and went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne University.
Despite his academic achievements, Mr Gleeson’s great passion has always been sport and adventure.
The youngest of seven children, Mr Gleeson’s brother Maurice also became blind at age 13 while another brother Russell, died at age 23.