SpecialCare Central Inc. are proud to welcome Karni Liddell as our Ambassador.
Karni Liddell has already established herself as one of Australia’s most successful and well-respected Paralympians. Karni’s journey to success began a lot differently than a typical elite athlete, as she was diagnosed at birth with a degenerative muscle wasting disease labeled Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Many Specialists told her amazing parents that their first-born child would not walk, sit up or live past her teenage years. Some specialists told them to make their daughter “as comfortable as possible, as exercise will only make this condition worse”. Karni’s parents began her on a ‘crazy’ self-invented rehabilitation program at the age of 2, which soon enabled them to realize that the greatest pleasure in life is achieving things people say can’t be done!
Not only did Karni walk at the age of 3, but she also established herself as one of the best swimmers in the world by the age of 14 when she broke the 50m Freestyle world record and she then went on to win medals at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics. Karni broke this world record many times in her teenage years and went into the Sydney 2000 Games as the fastest woman in the world in all her events. Karni was also voted in by her teammates to be one of the Australian team captains at the 2000 Paralympics, her greatest swimming achievement.
Karni was the first person in Australia with a disability to be featured on the front cover of Inside Sport magazine in a bikini and was featured in a 6-page bikini spread for the magazine. Karni was also featured in a Paralympic body-painting calendar, Black and White Magazine and many other modelling assignments. Karni’s incentive behind her modelling work was to demonstrate to the public that accidents and disability don’t discriminate, it chooses beautiful people every day. She also wanted to show children with disabilities that they are able to play sport, be funny, be beautiful, be intelligent and be whatever their minds dream up, despite their physical limitations! Karni’s preparation for Sydney was fraught with challenges and she soon realized the power of her disease.
Karni’s story is filled with ’edge of your seat’ unbelievable drama and circumstances, more importantly she demonstrates the power of belief and choice. Karni will have you crying in disbelief one minute and the next she will have you crying tears of laughter and joy at her story and wit. The triumph of the human spirit and family prevails throughout her story. Karni is a presenter on 4BC radio and was as a commentator at the Athens Paralympics, the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, the World Swimming Championships and the Noosa Triathlon. More amazingly, Karni was employed by Westpac Bank to raise $1million for the Australian Paralympic team to go to Athens in 2004 as the team was at risk of being downsized due to finances. Karni raised $1million in 4 months by travelling the country telling her story and inspiring people to raise money. Karni is the Ambassador for the Day of Difference Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association, ACPET and Montrose Access. Karni believes that we all have a choice in life and that our choices should NOT be determined by our life circumstances or our bodies. Karni is now studying her Masters in Clinical Social Work and has a Communications training consultancy where she is able to deliver workshops to corporations, athletes and students on how to master the art of storytelling for media interviews, keynote speeches, work meetings, etc. firstname.lastname@example.org