Sporty siblings live their dream

Coolbinia/West Perth Australian Football Club players and siblings Mikaela and John-Paul Vlijmen. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d415002
Coolbinia/West Perth Australian Football Club players and siblings Mikaela and John-Paul Vlijmen. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d415002

Coolbinia/West Perth Australian Football Club will field a team for the first time this season, starting in April, with both brother and sister key members of the squad.

Mikaela (20) is an avid Dockers supporter and enjoys being with her team mates out on the field.

‘I love having a run around and kicking lots of goals,’ Mikaela said.

John-Paul (22) loves to train with senior squad players each week.

‘The boys always say hello to me in the warm-up and I also love kicking goals,’ John-Paul said.

Both have Down syndrome and a passion to live each day to the full.

For father Steve Vlijmen, seeing John-Paul and Mikaela play at Coolbinia is a dream come true.

‘This is a club that was recommended to us and we really feel part of things already,’ Mr Vlijmen said.

Both John-Paul and Mikaela were recommended to Coolbinia/West Perth by Nicola Kearns, who is Inclusion WA’s recreation development officer.

‘We regularly look at activities for both John-Paul and Mikaela to participate in, with the ultimate goal of them participating in mainstream activities,’ Ms Kearns said.

The bond that John-Paul has with Mikaela is uncanny. He always has an eye out for his sister and makes sure she has a smile on her face.

This confidence has translated on stage with John-Paul performing solo at a singing competition last year, while sporty Mikaela is a keen swimmer and ten-pin bowler.

‘We are a very proud family and can’t wait for the season to begin,’ Mr Vlijmen said.