I heard last night that Matt Laffan had died. I'd first became aware of him only when he stood as an independent for Lord Mayor of Sydney. I then seemed to see him everywhere, on TV in the streets and around the courts. He was a remarkable character, an inspirational figure who appears to have never once let serious disabilities deter him from his goals. His passing is sad, but his life was magnificent. There's a lesson in that.
Update: At a conference today, in a session on social inclusion, Matt's name came up and it was clear he'd been known widely. A number of remarkable leaders in the field spoke about how people with disabilities can engage meaningfully in work with far less "fuss" than might be thought. Numerous messages resonated for me but none more so than the consensus that it is attitudes to people with disabilities, not the disability itself that is the major constraint and that fear and ignorance can be easily overcome. The five people speaking today did Matt proud.
Update 2: I should hardly be surprised by how many people Matt inspired. I've found lots of traffic heading this way from searches for information about Matt. Many people new Matt and have posted their own stories about his life including Stuart Khan, Matt's cousin.
2 days ago