Ben was born fully sighted, however a degenerative eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa left him fully blind by the time he was in his late 20s.
Ben began riding trail bikes at the age of seven and purchased his first motorbike at the age of 13, spending his early youth tinkering around the bikes mechanics. When Ben was in his early teens he had a motorbike accident whilst trail riding and it was then that the doctors diagnosed Retinitis Pigmentosa.
Ben’s dreams of joining the Navy and becoming a Mechanical Engineer slipped away from him as his sight began to deteriorate. He had trouble coming to terms with the diagnosis. Hurt, angry and in denial he would take his frustrations out on others, including his friends and family.
During a low point in his mid-20s, with his blindness almost complete, Ben realised that he needed to take responsibility for himself, accept the diagnosis and move on with his life. He knew, in that moment, that he wanted to make a difference for people with a disability.
And that he did. After college, Ben set up the Nepean Blind Sports Club and then gave up full time employment to become Co-ordinater Western Sydney – NSW Sports Council for the disabled. Later he went on to establish sailability and is the current president of Blind Sports NSW.
Ben is a former world champion and has a host of medals and records to his name in Rowing and Cricket. Many current athletes and Paralympians owe there start to Ben’s passion and drive. What sets Ben apart from the other advocates of “giving people with a disability opportunities” is Ben’s passion for inclusivity. He encourages everyone, disabled or not, to pursue his or her dreams.