No one understands more than Malcolm Burgess, long-term Rocky Bay resident and customer, the importance of spreading the message to the teenagers in our community that drinking and driving don’t mix.
In 1984, at 22 years of age, Malcolm was involved in a drink driving accident in Carnarvon, narrowly surviving the crash which left him in a coma for five months, paralysed and with amnesia. He suffered multiple broken bones, a ruptured spleen, severe brain damage and he lost the ability to walk.
Today, Malcolm is a regular speaker at Scotch College, presenting to Year 10 students about his personal experience as part of the college’s community service program ‘Making a Difference’, having challenged himself eight years ago to tell his story to young adults who are learning to drive.
So important is Malcolm’s goal of spreading his message to young drivers that it was recently picked up by reporters at Channel Seven’s Today Tonight, who joined Malcolm at his most recent presentation at Scotch College.
The segment was tied in with the Road Safety Commission’s state-wide ‘Zero Excuses’ campaign, which aims to start the conversation about split-second decisions and shift the community’s mindset to one of responsibility.
Rocky Bay’s Volunteer Coordinator, Jenny Styles, said Malcolm is keen to approach other schools to keep spreading his important message.
“Malcolm feels strongly about passing on this powerful message to as many young people in our community as possible,” Jenny explained.
“It’s rewarding to support Malcolm and help him seek further opportunities to share his story and raise awareness about the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol.”
Before his accident, Malcolm was an active young man, playing a lot of sports including football, cricket, roller hockey and golf.
“That’s one of the hardest things about having a disability, not being able to compete or even train,” said Malcolm.
The students said that thanks to Malcolm’s wise words they’ll be much more aware of their actions and those of their friends when getting behind the wheel to drive, and were inspired by Malcolm’s willingness to share his story.
“Malcolm made me realise that just one bad decision can change your life entirely,” said one student.
“What Malcolm has to say is worth listening to and I believe that other students should hear his story.”
Mal is keen to share his message far and wide and would love to come and speak to school students across Perth. To book Mal to present to your school, contact Rocky Bay’s Volunteer Coordinator, Jenny Styles, on (08) 9383 5135 or email [email protected]