My name is Sereako Treloggen, I was born on Thursday Island, I am a proud descendant of the Ugaram le from the Magaran tribe. I was born with a disability called Cerebral Palsy, caused when the umbilical cord got wrapped around my neck during my birth and cut oxygen off to my brain. My family couldn’t look after me, they didn’t know how to handle my disability. My great grandparents knew a couple that had a good past and knew how to take care of a disabled child. They became my second family and welcomed me into their home. People thought it would be very hard for them but they didn’t listen. They knew I may have disability but I was able to live a normal life. I could play on it. They were treating me like their own son. They provided me with the best education that I needed. Going to school, I think, was the greatest thing that happened to me when I was young. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but my parents said to me, “You may have a disability, but you’re able to be a voice.” It was very encouraging because when I went to school, the people didn’t treat me any different. I was treated like their equal and couldn’t get away with anything. That gave me motivation by not looking down on myself. I used to have my good days and my bad days, but my mum kept reminding me that I am one of the lucky ones, there are worse off than me. She gave me a lot of peace. I didn’t know what I wanted to do as got older because lots of people were talking about what they wanted to do in the future. They asked me and I didn’t know really what to say. As I got older, in year 10 I thought of what I could do. Cerebral palsy week was coming up and I wanted to do something. I gave a talk about cerebral palsy, I got very emotional, but I knew it was great because as I was talking it was like time stood still and there was a moment where I was speaking about myself, I was able to open people’s eyes more about disability. Then I thought very clearly of what I wanted to do because people came up to me and wanted to know more about my speech. It was clear to me then that I had a voice, word was spreading, people were listening and this opened my eyes to motivational speaking. I knew what I wanted to do now. I wanted to use my voice to speak about disability to other people in the community.
My dream is to encourage young people to open their eyes more about accepting other people with disability, to live a normal life and not to see the disability but the ability, teach them they can follow their dream also. My dad told me that there are many doors to my life but you have to find the right key. I think I have found mine: to speak on behalf of disability.