Gerrard Gosens OAM
Gerrard Gosens is recognised as one of the most prominent people in Australia today. In 2012 he was honoured with an Order of Australia (OAM) award in recognition of his outstanding service to sport and to people who are blind or who have low vision. Gerrard also recently received the Fervent Global Love of Lives Medal in Taiwan, which has been recognised by international media as The Nobel of Life.
In 2009, in a television world-first, the blind adventurer and three-time Paralympian, faced one of his greatest challenges when he took to the dance floor on Channel 7’s Dancing with the Stars and made it to the semi-final.
Congenitally blind, Gerrard became Australia’s youngest guide dog recipient at age 16. Using a laptop with speech output to assist his studies, Gerrard’s impressive academic achievements are matched by his skill and success at sport.
Gerrard has competed in many marathons and has run 2,000km from Cairns to Brisbane five times to raise money for charity. He has also co-piloted an ultra light motorglider around Queensland three times to raise funds for charity.
Gerrard represented Australia at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games in the team sport of Goalball where the team just missed out on a bronze medal. Goalball is specifically for athletes who are blind or vision impaired.
Gerrard decided to return to his former sporting love—distance running—and represented Australia at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games in the 5,000m, 10,000m and marathon (42.2km). Competing at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, Gerrard was one of only 60 Australians to be a torch-bearer for both the 2000 and 2008 games.
During 2003–04 he spent many weeks at Everest Base Camp and high altitudes in the Himalayas. He returned to Everest in 2005 and climbed 7,300m to beyond Camp Three. Gerrard will return to Everest in 2013, aiming to be the first congenitally blind person to summit the tallest mountain in the world.
Gerrard was awarded the Melvin Jones Fellowship in 1998 for humanitarian service and named Young Queensland of the Year in 1995. In 2003 he received a Centenary of Federation Medal for service to sport.
Meanwhile, he is writing a book that provides an insight into the many unique and entertaining experiences that he has encountered with his guide dogs.
Gerrard is currently Special Projects Manager for Vision Australia and is constantly looking for ways to improve the lives of children who are blind or vision impaired, like his 12 year old daughter, Taylor. He has also been Queensland Executive Officer and National Projects Manager of the Australian Paralympic Committee and Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Blind Foundation, Queensland.
Gerrard is also a successful businessman running two retail chocolate stores in Brisbane and conducting chocolate appreciation workshops.