20 May 2021

Is there a disability support star in your life who deserves to be nominated?

Image: Darryl and Pat smiling in a car.

Nominations are now open for the 2021 WA Disability Support Awards! This is your opportunity to nominate a Western Australian who demonstrates excellence, passion and commitment in supporting people with disability.

This year, the seven award categories are:

  • Emerging Leader

  • Excellence in Home and Family Support

  • Excellence in Innovation

  • Excellence in Regional Support

  • Excellence in Rights Promotion – Supporting Choice, Control and Capacity Building

  • Excellence in Supporting Employment Outcomes

  • Excellence in Supporting Inclusion and Citizenship

In 2018, Darryl Stevens nominated his support worker Pat Costello, from Life Without Barriers, in recognition of the difference Pat had made in his life.

The duo, as Pat says, are “sort of like Thelma and Louise, but without the cliff!”

Their close bond, forged over 10 years, is built on a shared love of footy, Asian food and Johnny Cash.

The former high school maths teacher recalls the moment he heard his name read out during the gala dinner event at Crown Perth.

Pat says: “Over the night you got to see the work of so many other people doing wonderful things, so it was certainly humbling, and exciting. It was a great feeling and really good for your morale because you don’t do this work for the awards.

“The thing I’ve learnt over the years as a disability support worker is that you need to wear comfortable shoes, because you’re on your feet a lot and you never know what the day will bring.

“What winning the Award meant was that I could go out and buy really good comfortable shoes, because they’re not cheap!”

Darryl and Pat began working together when Pat came out of retirement in search of a meaningful way of applying his teaching skills. Pat was able to provide stability and continuity of support to Darryl, who lives independently and requires support to attend medical appointments and social activities.

Pat says: “The most important thing you can do as a disability support worker is be yourself and be authentic. It’s been very rewarding because Darryl and I learn off each other every day.

“My mum used to say to me, get a haircut and get a real job. Well, I don’t have much hair and I have an unreal job so I’m lucky.”

Thank you Disability Support Awards for sharing this great story!

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