18 Oct 2016
Sue Curran and David Stallard have one goal right now - preparing for the upcoming 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, where they will be competing in lawn bowls.
It means countless hours of practice - not that either of them complain.
“I think anybody who has a passion should go ahead and give it a go” says Curran.
“Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you can.”
They will be competing in B2/3 mixed pairs where they are aiming to improve on their fourth place from the games four years ago in Glasgow.
However, Curran and Stallard are more than just team mates - they have something else in common. They are both vision impaired.
Curran says a common motto that blind people have used for many years is ‘don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you can’.
She has a retina dysfunction, which has been ongoing for thirty years. “A lot of people have the perception that once your vision starts to go you cannot play bowls. That is totally incorrect of course, which we have proven,” she says.
What makes Stallard’s achievements even more remarkable is that he is also deaf.
He says that’s the beauty of lawn bowls. “It doesn’t matter what disability you have, you can play lawn bowls.
“It’s no good sitting back worrying about the problems you have got. Just look forward to what you want to do and got for it. This is my belief and is what I have always done.”
Stallard plays with his director Peter Blick, while Curran plays with director Ann Muir.
Curran explains with the help of the directors, they never get on a bowling green on their own. “They are our eyes to give us directions and distances, to give us the picture of where the bowls have ended up. So we are really a pair playing one game.”
Both know very well the challenges that daily life can bring.
“There are things I cannot do. I can’t read a newspaper, I can’t see things clearly - at long distance, everything is very blurry. So I am limited in what I can do, but I will do as much as I can” says Curran.
Access for all
One in four New Zealanders identify with a disability according to ANZ NZ’s MD Retail and Business Banking Antonia Watson.
ANZ’s latest debit cards have accessibility features aimed at making banking easier for vision impaired customers. Initially introduced in Australia with help from Vision Australia, the cards are now in use in New Zealand too.
The cards feature bigger fonts, a notch that helps customers identify the correct way to insert the card into an ATM or EFTPOS machine, as well as raised dots indicating the correct way up.
“This is another step to provide accessible financial services,” says Watson.
For Stallard and Curran the cards are an example of how small things can make a big difference.
Stallard says “This card will make a big difference because you have two dots on the front. I can feel it and put it into the machine, whereas with other cards I struggle. It’s brilliant.”
“Any sort of enhancement in technology to help a vision impaired or blind person is fantastic,” says Curran.
“There is nothing worse than going somewhere and thinking ‘Oh, I can’t do that’. You can do that, with the help of these sorts of things,” she says.
Tony Field in a bluenotes contributor
The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.
18 Oct 2016
05 Oct 2017