Message of hope
SILENCE descended on the Warwick West SS hall when farmer Sam Bailey wheeled onto the stage.
The 300-strong audience – made up of students and teachers from six schools – were held captive as Mr Bailey began his address and told his moving story.
While working at a cattle property in the Northern Territory, the former The Armidale School student was involved in a car accident, which left him paralysed from the chest down. At just 19 years of age, he was forced to adjust to a new life that would see him bound to a wheelchair.
But Mr Bailey’s story is a story of extraordinary hope – one that has resonated with people Australia-wide.
“It was a shattering blow to go from a six-foot tall, bullet-proof 19-year-old, to just a body on a bed, completely hopeless,” he said.
“But with the help of my family and friends I persevered.”
After mastering the transition from wheelchair to four-wheeler bike, Mr Bailey said he found freedom in a new set of four wheels.
Following that was modified equipment to help him into tractors and bulldozers, which meant he could keep working on the farm.
When Australian Story got wind of his account, Mr Bailey and wife Jenny began a chapter of public speaking, which bought him to Warwick.
“I want to share with you the four ‘Sam’s lessons’ I have learnt,” he told the children.
“One – always wear a seatbelt.
“Two – don’t ever dismiss an idea until you give it a crack.
“Three – people who are telling you you can’t do something – well it’s up to you to prove them wrong.
“And four – don’t forget the enormous importance of family, friends and the community you live in.”
Students were then given an opportunity to ask Mr and Mrs Bailey some questions.
The six schools also received signed copies of Mrs Bailey’s book Head Over Heels.