Project zooms in on zest for life
COAST ironman Matt Poole sat in awe of 18-year-old Aaron Taylor as they posed for the Stand up for Epilepsy project.
On Thursday, Matt and Aaron, from Twin Waters, participated in the photo shoot to create an empowering image for the photography project, an international initiative that aims to change the public image of epilepsy and inspire youngsters with epilepsy to pursue their own dreams of sporting excellence.
"It's an amazing charity, something I was approached to come on board and be involved in, with other elite sportspeople," Matt said.
"I've been involved in the Breast Cancer Foundation for a number of years. I enjoy helping out and doing what I can for charity."
Matt said while he was often a role model for aspiring athletes, the tables turned and he was inspired by Aaron's zest for life despite his barriers.
Aaron has never wanted epilepsy to prevent him from doing anything in his life.
He continues to surf, cycle, enter triathlons and he is a first aid officer at sporting events.
"It was great to go and meet kids like Aaron, he's so athletic and sporty, despite having an illness, he has such a positive outlook on life," Matt said.
"It's a massive inspiration and puts life in perspective. Sometimes people who are more fortunate in life, when things are down they pack it in.
"But look at those who have overcome so much more in life, come out happy and bright."
Selected photographs from the project will be exhibited in London following the 2012 London Olympics, and later collated into a book.
"The fact it's reaching out to a greater audience, internationally, raises the awareness and profile of it all and the messages, the more power it has," Matt said.
The Stand up for Epilepsy project in Queensland is organised by Epilepsy Queensland on behalf of the International League Against Epilepsy.
The aim is to break down the barriers of prejudice and ignorance about epilepsy, which can sometimes hinder a person with epilepsy from achieving their goals and leading a full, active life.