People of Ryde presents Maria Dalmon
Published on 16 June 2020
Hello, my name is Maria. I grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney in the 1950s.
As a young baby I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a physical disability that affects movement, posture and is a life-long condition.
I consider myself fortunate. Being born cerebral palsy, I do not know any differently. For me, life is as normal as it can be. I am never concerned with what I can’t do but I am proud of what I can. I have accomplished much in my life.
I was educated and received treatment at the Spastic Centre of NSW (now known as the Cerebral Palsy Alliance) and later worked and trained at their workshop as a computer operator.
In my teenage years, I yearned for my independence. I often wondered what my future held. I never imagined that I would marry and become the happy, contented woman I am today.
In 1986, I married Lindsay. Lindsay was also born with cerebral palsy. While we were both once able to walk, we now both rely on electric wheelchairs for mobility. Our speech and hand function are also affected.
In 1990, when the government decided that people with a disability should be integrated into the general workforce, I secured an administrative position at North Ryde RSL Community Club. Lindsay was also employed by the Spastic Centre of NSW, as a computer operator/programme analysis.
In 2009, Lindsay and I both retired. We now have more time to be together and enjoy going sailing and to the live theatre, gardening, doing jigsaws and many other activities.
Despite our disabilities, we have travelled extensively, both in Australia and to many countries around the world – UK, France, Italy, Greece and Japan. We now enjoy going on cruises and have cruised to Alaska, the Pacific Islands, New Zealand and circumnavigated Australia.
We sail fortnightly with Sailability. Sailability is a worldwide volunteered based organisation that promotes sailing for people with disabilities. We have competed in many Australian and international regattas, wining many titles.
I am an accomplished author. Late last year my autobiography ‘Don’t Tell Me I Can’t’ was published. My book is a celebration of my life and tells the positive, and sometimes funny side of life with a disability.
Lindsay and I decided to make our home in the City of Ryde. North Ryde was central to where we worked, and close to Lindsay’s parents’ home so we could call upon them should we have needed their help. We settled in a home unit in Herring Road. Many years later, we sold our unit and purchased a villa in Cox’s Road, East Ryde where we live today.
The City of Ryde embraces the needs of people with disabilities and provides great accessibility and facilities.
We have access to:
- An accessible public transport system. Many public buses traveling through the City of Ryde are wheelchair accessible. We are able to travel to Parramatta, Hornsby, into the city, or anywhere we wish. The introduction of the Metro has broadened our travel possibilities greatly
- Shopping. We shop weekly at Cox’s Road Mall. And, using accessible public transport, we are able to shop at Macquarie or Top Ryde shopping centres. We often catch the Metro to Castle Hill Towers or to Chatswood
- Macquarie University Sport and Aquatic Centre. We train weekly under the guidance of an Exercise Physiologist. Fitness is important to us
- Doctors, dentists and podiatrists and wheelchair friendly footpaths and kerbs
- Parks and Bushland. We often “wheel’ ourselves to Blenheim Park and enjoy the serenity of the bush
The City of Ryde also offers me many opportunities for social inclusion:
- I join in worship with the congregation at North Ryde Community Uniting church on Sundays. I volunteer to greet and welcome people as they arrive at our church twilight markets held during the summer months
- I attend social activities offered by North Ryde Community Aid – Presbyterian Aged Care. Lindsay and I enjoy lunch and/or morning tea at the centre, and often play a game of bingo or listen to a guest speaker. We enjoy the company of all who attends
- We love going to Carols by Candlelight held in North Ryde Common each Christmas
I am thankful I can call the City of Ryde my home.
Written by Maria Dalmon