Advocacy, Disability

To celebrate International Day of People with Disability share YOUR story with others

Written byChristine Tondorf
Published on03 Dec, 2021
Damien Becker

RELEASED: December 3, 2021

To celebrate International Day of People with Disability on Friday, December 3, people with
a disability are encouraged to share a gem of wisdom on a unique website that showcases
relatable and lived experiences of life with a disability.

The Paper Wings website has been created by the not-for-profit organisation, Social
Futures, and an award-winning writer is available to mentor people on how to pen a
message for the site.

Tweed Heads writer and disability advocate Damien Becker lives with cystic fibrosis and is a
double-lung transplant recipient. His poetry examines the impact of his condition on his life.

“The process of writing from one’s own experience can be a powerful way to connect with
others who may be going through some of the same things,” Mr Becker said.

Mr Becker, a NSW Poetry ‘Slam’ Champion and ‘Bunker’ Spoken Word Prize winner, is also
employed by Social Futures.

He said the key to getting your message across was to find points of shared experience or
wisdom.

“Often, when we write about ourselves, we can get lost in the details of our own story, rather
than thinking about the universal lessons or insights such a story can offer,” he said.

“Paper Wings messages are really like postcards to someone you don’t know, saying ‘I’ve
travelled to this place and it’s a good place to be.’ We can be realistic about the challenges
of the journey while still providing hope that a good life is possible, that there are ways
through challenging times.

“Often I will scroll back through photos of a particular time and write from that. Little details
like the clothes I wore, the music I was listening to, even what was on TV at that time, can
help to get me back into that moment. This helps to put others in the room, into an
immersive story.

“Ultimately we all learn and communicate through storytelling in one form or another. This is
another way of sharing some of the wisdom you have gained from living a life with disability,
and such insights could really change someone’s life, no matter how small.”

Visit Paper Wings and read stories shared by others at

Home

To contact Damien Becker about mentorship to write a message for Paper Wings email:
[email protected]

You can submit your messages at https://paperwings.socialfutures.org.au/share-your-message/
The Paper Wings website is supported by Social Futures, a partner of the National Disability
Insurance Scheme.

PHOTO: Poet Damien Becker