THREE-TIME Paralympian Shelley Chaplin has a simple message – anything is possible.
The Harcourt local talked with students at Girton Grammar School yesterday about her experiences with basketball.
A former Girton student, Ms Chaplin was born with a disability and was confined to a wheelchair.
She said she started playing basketball at 14 and the sport had changed her life.
“Basketball is such an important part of my life,” she said.
“I got involved when I was young and it is something that has continued to make me happy.”
Ms Chaplin said living with a disability had not stopped her achieving her goals.
“Some people think it is a real disadvantage but it’s not,” she said.
“People who have disabilities should get involved in something, whether it’s a sport or not.
“There is no time to hold back.
“You have to get out there and live your life.”
Girton boy’s basketball captain James Brown said he was inspired by Ms Chaplin’s story.
“I find it really inspiring learning about how Shelley overcame her disability to achieve her goal,” he said.
“Sport is something that unites us all, despite our abilities, our race or our gender.
“It is something that we can all participate in.”
In the coming weeks Ms Chaplin will cycle around Fiji to raise money for disability services. The 550km trek will take about seven days.
Ms Chaplin said the ride would also aim to raise awareness of people living with a disability.
“There is a bit of a stigma attached to people who have a disability,” she said.
“We want to get rid of that and show people anything is possible.”
So far Ms Chaplin has raised $10,500 for the ride.