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Disability advocate joins Follow the Sun relay

Disability advocate Ben Tullipan has joined Follow the Sun Relay, in a Winnebago motorhome 12-month lap of Australia.  With his wife Kerrie and children Sheridan and Rory, Tullipan is setting out to show Australians that having a disability doesn’t stop people from having fun.

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The Tullipan family will begin their trip in Sydney and travel around New South Wales, stopping in at townships including Kangaroo Valley, Huskisson, Narooma, Bateman’s Bay and Wollongong.

Tullipan said he is excited to show that even with a disability, people can still get out, live life and have fun. “I’m pretty excited about doing this. We’re going to try and find some stuff that’s a bit out of the ordinary,” he said. Kerrie added that the family knows the NSW area and are hoping to showcase some of the places people might not have seen.

“We want to show what holidaying in a motorhome is like for a person with disability,” she said. “It can deter you from doing this kind of thing sometimes, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t go on holiday and have fun. People say to Benthat if they didn’t see him getting active, they would still be sitting on the couch feeling sorry for themselves. People say he’s changed their lives. We’ve see grown men cry because they thought they wouldn’t be able to do something like that again. It’s amazing really, what he does. It’s life changing.”

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Tullipan is Australia’s worst injured survivor from the 2002 Bali Bombings terrorist attacks. He lost both of his legs, most of his stomach muscles and received 63 per cent full thickness burns to his body. He was given a 5 per cent chance of survival and was told he would never walk again, but has learned to walk on two prosthetic legs, started playing golf, and is a disability advocate and volunteer.

Tullipan was awarded the 2006 Pride of Australia Medal for Courage, a 2006 Moncrieff Community Award, was named 2008 Gold Coast Citizen of the Year, graced the cover of the 2010 Gold Coast White Pages as a Courageous Australian, was named 2016 South East Queensland Father of the Year, 2016 Queensland Father of the Year, was a finalist in the 2016 United Nations Volunteer Awards and was awarded a 2016 Northern Gold Coast Community Award.

The Follow the Sun Relay is a collaborative effort between Dometic, Winnebago and Caravan Industry Association of Australia.

The relay began on Saturday, June 9 at the Queensland Caravan Camping and Touring Supershow in Brisbane, where the first explorers began their trip.

Drivers have taken the Winnebago around Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and is now making its way through New South Wales.

Photo caption: Ben Tullipan with wife Kerrie and children Sheridan and Rory.

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