Physical disability isn’t stopping this NRL fan from going after what he wants in life
My name is Carmelo Raspanti, I am 44 years old and live in the southern suburbs of Sydney with my mum and step dad.
I was born in Sydney but have Italian heritage through my parents. I have been to my parent’s home region in Sicily three times and I can converse in the language.
I was born with a physical disability but it doesn’t stop me playing wheelchair tag and soccer weekly. Throughout the week I also catch up with a few support workers who assist me when it comes to partaking in recreational activities.
My biggest passion is rugby league and I am a Parramatta Eels fan. I attend as many game games as possible. I am a season ticket holder and I either go with a support worker, by myself or with my cab driver – a fellow Eels’ fan.
I currently receive support from various service providers including the Italian Speaking Association, located in Five Dock. Late last year I also joined up with Gig Buddies Sydney, a project that pairs up adults with disability with a volunteer – both of whom shares similar passions.
While I continue to wait for a Gig Buddies volunteer, through the project I have been able to watch the Cronulla Sharks train as I conveniently live near the stadium. I met their coach and had a long chat with James Maloney and Paul Gallen about State of Origin. Both were more than happy to talk league with me and I have watched both in action this season against the Eels and the Broncos.
I am looking for a likeminded volunteer who is outgoing and would like to attend Parramatta games with me. Away from watching rugby I would like to go to gigs with my volunteer and expand my social circle.
I had a health scare back in December and spent two weeks in an induced coma. Now I am back to full strength.
I spend my time watching sport, socialising and trying to have a good time.
I also recently attended the third match in the State of Origin series with a member of staff from the Gig Buddies Sydney team.