Shane Agnew became a ventilated quadriplegic after an off-road motorcycle accident in 2005; his spinal cord injury is at cervical level 1 (C1) the highest possible point. Although Shane can’t move his arms and legs or breathe independently, he has never lost his positive outlook on life.
Now employed as a PBF Injury Prevention Presenter, Shane was selected to speak at the TEDxUWA event on the 13th of October. The TEDxUWA movement aims to bring the spirit of TED to the University of Western Australia campus community by organising events that are focused on the power of ideas to change.
This year’s TEDxUWA theme is “Turning Points”, and we caught up with Shane as he prepared for the event to talk about his journey in becoming a presenter, his employment with PBF and how the technology he relies upon to communicate has helped his presentations.
Q: How long have you been working with PBF?
Shane: Since June 2016.
Q: Tell us about how employment with PBF has changed things for you?
Shane: It made me more aware that high school kids need to see the reality of how an accident can completely change their life. It’s provided me with meaningful employment too.
Q: Has working with PBF helped shape your presentation skills and confidence in front of an audience?
Shane: Yes, PBF and Symon (PBF’s WA Injury Prevention Manager) have given me a lot more confidence, and the mentorship Symon has given me has really fine-tuned my talks.
Q: What’s the biggest audience you’ve presented to and how did you feel?
Shane: I think the biggest audience was at Fredrick Irwin High School, where I spoke to 300 year 12 students. I felt great, as the more kids I can reach the better. I knew I must have made an impact as one of the kids fainted!
Q: Tell us about the technology that you were gifted by PBF? How has this impacted your presentation skills and employability?
Shane: PBF have gifted me “Natural Reader” which is a text to speech program. Before I had use of the free version but using the paid version allows me to change voices and save my talks into an mp3 format.
Q: Has this technology changed everyday life as well?
Shane: Well it helps me give back to the community so, yes it has given me an outlet to tell my story to a wider range of audience.
Q: How are you feeling about being a speaker at the TEDxUWA event?
Shane: It is very exciting but I’m a bit nervous at the same time. Speaking in front of a large group of adults will be a big change from a class full of students!
Thank you so much for sharing Shane and congratulations on becoming a TEDxUWA speaker.
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