Against all odds.
Daryl is man with a dream – A dream to get to the Special Olympics in Los Angeles in 2015. At the age of 36, Daryl has fought against all odds to be where he is in his sporting career. Although he has Thrombocytopenia, Leukopenia and along with a diagnosis of mild intellectual disability, Daryl upholds a bright and positive attitude towards life and proudly states “I want to achieve more!”
Daryl enjoys many sports, but due to his physical health issues, his choices for sport have been limited. Luckily, there was one sport that caught Daryl’s eye – Golf.
Yes, golf! This passion began 6 years ago, when his previous Supported Living Facilitator (SLF) – Grace – was looking for a sport Daryl could play. Daryl says “I always wanted to be at a driving range and hit a golf ball.” He says golf has helped him “Get out in the sun and be outside more”. As Daryl’s mum mentions “No one in the family plays golf”, Daryl’s natural talent and interest in the sport has driven him to be one of the best on the range and has led him on a pathway to represent New Zealand in golf at the Special Olympics in 2015.
In preparation to get to Los Angeles next year, Daryl says there are 3 main things that he needs to prepare for. These entail, getting his fitness up, as its going to be “very hot”. He is currently attending the gym with his Support worker, in order to achieve this goal. He also needs to keep practicing- Daryl trains 3-4 times a month with a coach and also plays 9 holes on Sundays which takes 2-3 hours, along with Igolf practice which is once a week for an hour. Finally, Daryl also needs financial assistance in order to participate at this event as it costs approximately $8,500. Daryl has set up a page on Give a little (www.givealittle.co.nz) – an organisation that helps people fund raise.
Daryl has a strong support system around. His family being his biggest support, along with motivation, they provide his golf equipment–courtesy of his brother, they assist him financially and his dad walks around the 9 holes with him most games. Keri, his SLF, also supports him at the golf range. With this great network of support, Daryl has attended multiple Ribbon days held 4-5 times a year, and won gold at his first National games in Dunedin in 2013. These are tremendous results and Daryl admits he is very proud of himself for his accomplishments.
He states “If it wasn’t for Grace, he would have not known about golf”, and says Renaissance Group “helps me achieve things I want to achieve.”
Before we left, Daryl gave us one piece of advice that he has learnt through his accomplishments “Just go for it and have fun. Enjoy the journey!”