Students take part in a ‘Paralympics come to Cockburn’ event


Kathleen O' Kelly-Kennedy and Olympian gymnast Emily Little with children from Cottesloe Primary School in the background. Picture: Robin Kornet        www.communitypix.com.au   d459309
Kathleen O' Kelly-Kennedy and Olympian gymnast Emily Little with children from Cottesloe Primary School in the background. Picture: Robin Kornet        www.communitypix.com.au d459309

WHEELCHAIR basketball star Kathleen O’Kelly-Kennedy says no question is off limits when posed by an inquisitive child.

As a co-founder of the Red Dust Heelers, a team committed to disability inclusion and reconciliation, O’Kelly-Kennedy says there are not many questions she has not fielded by children seeing para athletes at work for the first time.

“It’s crazy to see kids process it all and then be amazed,” she said.

“There’s no filler – there are some great quotes. Sometimes disability can be a bit scary because it is the unknown.

“But we want them to ask questions. They’re our future leaders so exposing them to an inclusive environment is important.”

With the country’s best athletes over in Brazil for the 2016 Paralympics, the Heelers hosted a “Paralympics comes to Cockburn” event at Wally Hagan Stadium on Friday.

Children had the chance to take part in wheelchair basketball, goalball, wheelchair badminton and sit volleyball.

There was also an Aboriginal art station, and the Paralympics on the television.

Not there however wereHeelers co-founder and Australian flag bearer Brad Ness, Adam Deans and Jannik Blair.

That was because the trio were in Rio trying to secure a medal for Australia.

O’Kelly-Kennedy said she could not be more proud of her teammates.

“It’s very special because I’ve seen how hard they’ve trained,” she explained.

“We are hoping children here will be able to see what they can achieve.”

For more information about the team, visit www.reddust heelers.com.