Territory Stories

Sunday Territorian 5 May 2019



Sunday Territorian 5 May 2019


Sunday Territorian; NewspaperNT




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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited

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Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited



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SUNDAY MAY 5 2019 FRONTIER 25 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA rock. I wouldnt be here without her. I am also very lucky to have some really great friends who, although they are spread all over Australia, have given me unwavering support. Sport gave Sonya the motivation I need to get moving in life. My entire outlook has changed since I started swimming again and learnt to walk. I now see what I can achieve in life, not what I cannot. The Invictus Games have also provided Sonya the inspiration to explore new challenges. I was lucky enough to compete in last years Invictus Games in Toronto. It was such a life-changing experience to see people with different injuries and illness putting in so much effort to be the best that they can be. I couldnt pass up the opportunity to be a part of the games here in Australia. Sonya competed for selection in four sports: sitting vol leyball, wheelchair basketball, indoor rowing and swimming. She was overwhelmed to secure a place in three of the four. Being selected for the Australian team is a huge honour and to compete here in Australia in front of a home crowd is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It is a chance for me to say a big thank you to all the people who helped me get through by giving it my all and being the best that I can be. She quickly discovered that the thrill of competing was not all the games had to offer. The spirit of the Australian team is unbreakable, the bonds that have been formed through the process of selection and training camps, the mental and physical challenges that we have all faced and overcome together, those bonds are nothing short of tremendous. Sonyas family will also provide valuable support as she competes: I have a super-supportive family. My mum, dad and three of my four sisters are all travelling to Sydney to support me. There they will join her partner Jennifer and their two children, six-year-old Douglas, and Ashley, aged five. Sonya is keen to convey the enormous benefits of the games to others who, like her, need support to overcome some form of adversity: To anyone who is faced with injury or illness, I would say, never give up. Today might be tough, but if you can just breathe and hold on, one minute at a time, tomorrow you will be stronger from the challenges you face today. It is a philosophy that has maintained her through her own considerable challenges. Once the games conclude, Sonya faces further life-changing events. After the games means family time. I have spent so much time away over the last five years three years of surgeries in Sydney and two years of training camps and prosthetic fittings etc. I need to be home now. I am being medically discharged from the Army in December 2018, so I am looking forward to seeing what life as a civilian has in store for me. Sonyas games experience has been a big part of her preparation for the challenge of leaving the Army and starting her civilian life. It is a challenge that she will never have to face alone. She continues to be inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt, who once said, When dealing with yourself use your head, when dealing with others use your heart. For Sonya, this truly embodies the spirit of the Invictus Games and the journey towards recovery. Sonya Newman competed at last years Invictus Games in Toronto My entire outlook has changed since I started swimming again and learnt to walk. I now see what I can achieve in life, not what I cannot. S O N YA N E W M A N Sonya Newman had al-ways loved big trucks.While she neverplanned to join the Army, she quickly realised that it provided plenty of opportunity to drive some of the biggest trucks on the road. As Sonya remarks, I kind of just fell into it. Once in the Army, she loved the life so much that she stayed over 17 years. As a member of the Royal Australian Corps of Transport, her job title was Operator Specialist Vehicle Advanced. This saw Sonya spend much of her time driving huge trucks and tank transporters. My fondest memories are from my posting to 26 Transport Squadron. We would spend many months on the road all over Australia so the friendships we made were for life. She is currently posted to the 1st Combat Service Sup port Battalion and has previously deployed to Solomon Islands and Sumatra. But Sonyas dream career came to an end when she began having problems with her right leg. Her doctor sent her for a routine arthroscopy which quickly turned into a nightmare. She was struck down by a virulent staph infection that defied all treatment. Eventually, in a bid to save her life, surgeons amputated her right leg above the knee. It spelled the end of a promising Army career and the shattering of her love affair with big trucks. Sonya put it simply: My injury changed my whole life. Sonya is the first to admit that the love and support of those around her saved her life. Having a solid support network has been vital to my survival. My partner Jen is my UNCONQUERED: Our Wounded was published by Big Sky Publishing and costs $69.99. Its available from all good bookstores