EXCLUSIVE: Dylan Alcott is on a mission to support young people with disabilities

Giving Day is tomorrow, and the Dylan Alcott Foundation hopes to raise $100,000.
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Dylan Alcott, an athlete, a Paralympian, a media commentator, an advocate, and the 2022 Australian of the Year…

Dylan has no singular title; he spreads himself across many areas in efforts to make a difference.

Seven years ago, Dylan started the Dylan Alcott Foundation, a charitable organization that aims to make a difference in the lives of young Australians with disabilities.

This year, the foundation is holding their very first Giving Day.

WATCH NOW: Dylan Alcott Foundation Giving Day. Article continues after video. 

On 1 November 2023, Giving Day hopes to raise $100,000 for charity, with the proceeds directly supporting more grant recipients around Australia.

We talked to Dylan and learnt more about his story and his passion for helping those who haven’t had the same opportunities he has.

(Credit: Getty)

“Growing up with a disability can be really bloody hard sometimes to be honest, and we often face barriers in terms of employment, education and sport… whatever your vocational dream is,” Dylan says.

“We started the foundation about seven years ago now and it’s something we always wanted to do but we just didn’t know if we had the platform to do it.”

There are nearly one million young people with disabilities in Australia… the Dylan Alcott Foundation aims to support them.

Donations are currently open, but on Giving Day, every single dollar raised is doubled by matching partners and sponsors.

(Credit: Dylan Alcott Foundation)

What is Giving Day?

Giving Day and the Dylan Alcott Foundation as a whole is about being able to directly impact the lives of young people with disabilities.

“We directly invest in helping people with disabilities; whether it’s equipment for people to become Paralympians, we pay for university and tafe courses for those who can’t afford it and startups for people who can’t find work or want to be their own boss or have their own company… whatever it is,” Dylan says.

Being the first year this day is held, Dylan is very excited to see how things will go.

“If we could put our stake in the ground and do this every year, I think we will, but we are looking forward to having a crack at the first one,” Dylan says.

(Credit: Instagram)

Dylan understands that he is very lucky to have this platform and he is doing all he can to use it to help and inspire others.

“Growing up I was lucky that I had an incredibly supportive family who loved me and cared for me, but they never really wrapped me in cotton wool. My brother and I both loved playing sport and I remember he loved playing AFL football, obviously I’m not very good at that, but he got a $100 pair of football boots to be able to play… I needed a $7000 wheelchair just to even try,” Dylan shares.

“We couldn’t really afford that and I’m lucky that I got supported by some people who could help us out and for so many young people with a disability who can’t afford to get involved well guess what, you don’t get to do it and that sucks!”

The experiences Dylan had a child is what gave him the drive to help others in a similar situation to him.

“When I was young, I had a drive to want to make change, but I never thought I’d get a platform where we could potentially make an impact and I think that the reason that I’ve been very lucky to get it is the countless people with disabilities that came before me that didn’t get the same opportunities that I had, but also I’m so lucky that the Australian public for some reason that I don’t know just got behind me and started supporting it and wanting to share it,” Dylan tells us.

(Credit: Instagram)

Who do the grants support?

Cooper Smith is just one of the young people with a disability who has managed to pursue his dreams because of the foundation.

“He was at school, he was a bit lost and didn’t know what to do but he absolutely loved playing music and through the foundation we were able to not only give him some DJ equipment to become a DJ, but also pan him with mentors and other musicians who could help him through that journey,” Dylan tells us.

“He is now recording music, he’s on the ARIA dance charts these days, making music with his guys. He played our music festival, Ability Fest, and watching him play in front of five or six thousand people… there was not a dry eye in the place. I get goose bumps just thinking about it and just seeing him happy first and foremost.”

This is what the foundation revolves around… being able to directly support and run awareness campaigns to change help perceptions.

“I used to hate myself. I used to hate my disability. I wasn’t proud of the person that I was and as soon as I started being proud of my difference but also stopped caring about the select few that gave me a hard time or bullied me because of my disability and focused on the lots of people in my life that were worth my time, my life changed immediately,” Dylan says.

“We are normal people like everybody else who can work, who can go on dates, who can travel, who can play sport, who can be musicians, who can do whatever we want… and I think that time is now to do it and I’m excited that it is slowly changing but it’s up to all of us to do it together.”

Donate here today. Make a difference.

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