Spinal Life Australia has congratulated Brisbane singer Tim McCallum, who has been chosen to perform the national anthem at the AFL Grand Final in Queensland on Saturday 24 October.
The announcement is timely as this week is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week (7-13 September).
At the age of 18, Tim sustained a spinal cord injury in a beach diving accident, at the very start of a promising career in the music and theatre industry.
Doctors told Tim he would never sing the way he used to, given the respiratory challenges of having quadriplegia, but he set out to prove them wrong, developing his own style of breathing and singing techniques that allowed him to continue his passion.
Tim joined the Spinal Life team in June 2019 as a Peer Support Officer, providing to provide one-on-one support and mentoring to newly injured patients and their families at the Princess Alexandra Hospital’s Spinal Injuries Unit, as well as in the community.
Spinal Life Australia Chief Executive Officer Chief Executive Officer Mark Townend congratulated Tim on the very well-deserved honour of singing at the Gabba next month.
“Tim has been a fantastic addition to the Peer Support team and has been so open about sharing his lived experience with spinal cord injury with others, especially patients who are in the Spinal Injuries Unit at a time when they are wondering what their own future holds,” Mark said.
“He is such a positive person and brings this energy to everything he does, and we are delighted that he has been recognised by the AFL in this way.”
Tim has also led the way in research for The Hopkins Centre’s Singing Cords project, investigating the respiratory benefits of singing for people with spinal cord injuries to enhance breathing, voice and general wellbeing.
Spinal Life’s Peer Support team use their own lived experience with spinal cord damage to provide guidance, mentorship and connections to others, throughout the journey from hospital to home and in the community.
To read the official AFL announcement, click here.
To find out more about the Peer Support program, click here.