Paralympian inspires at annual conference

“YOU are strong and you are valued,” – Kurt Fearnley

Seven precious words, CentacareCQ staff left with them after their annual conference held in Rockhampton last week.

More than 190 staff from across the Rockhampton Diocese (including Mackay, Bundaberg, Capricorn Coast, Gladstone and the Central Highlands) gathered to attend the two-day event, comprising of guest speakers, workshops and business unit development.

Three-time Paralympic gold medallist Kurt Fearnley attended the conference as keynote speaker, inspiring and motivating staff with his stories of triumphs and tribulations.

Amidst his stories including the gruelling Kokoda Track, in which he crawled hour upon hour through thick mud and humid, tropical conditions.

Kurt explains he: “…lives on the fringe of what is expected of disabled people.” and to highlight that “…a lack of expectation rips the life and hope out of people”.

Kurt said he embodied the beliefs of CentacareCQ when it came to hope and inclusion and challenged the organisation to become a symbol of universal accessibility.

He encouraged staff to believe that “you are strong and valued.” and to “go into a room and make the people around you stronger” – further supporting conference’s theme “You Matter.”

Father Frank Brennan SJAO also gave an address mirroring many of Kurt’s words.

The conference concluded on Wednesday 17th June with numerous workshops and training session opportunities for the betterment of the CentacareCQ team.

CentacareCQ director Robert Sims addresses the 2019 CentacareCQ Conference.

Bishop Michael McCarthy formally opens the Conference.

Paralympian and Keynote Speaker Kurt Fearnley addresses the conference.

Keynote Speaker Kurt Fearnley shares his inspiring stories at the CentacareCQ Conference.

Two of Kurt Fearnley’s medals were passed through the crowd as he shared his stories.

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