Travis Newman, 13, from the small community of Murrami, near Griffith, has the 2032 Brisbane Paralympics firmly in his sights. He is one of eight inspiring young Australians to be awarded a Redkite and Coles Dare to Dream Scholarship.
Travis had just started to get seriously into horse riding when he was diagnosed with bone cancer at the age of nine. After rounds of chemotherapy, operations on his leg and removal of his fibula (calf bone), he is back in the saddle and dreams of becoming an elite dressage rider and making it to the Brisbane Paralympic Games in 2032.
The Redkite and Coles Dare to Dream Scholarship was established to inspire young people whose physical or mental health has been affected by cancer, to achieve their goals and ambitions. This scholarship, funded by Coles, helps young people build their future and can be put towards education or life goals.
During treatment, Travis had to spend 12 months in Sydney, away from his dad and brothers. There was a possibility he might lose his leg and he didn’t know if he would ever ride again. When he returned home, his beloved horse Penny helped him move forwards.
“When I got Penny, it was just after my third operation on my leg. I was sad and frustrated, but she gave me the motivation to start living my dream. I couldn’t wait to get off my crutches and start riding again. Penny was being trained to be an Olympic dressage horse, but she sustained a leg injury that she meant could no longer be an elite athlete. After a rest, she is sound and can be ridden, so she is like me now.
“Having cancer and going through chemo changed my body and it was very hard to accept my limitations but riding Penny and seeing just how far I can go gives me something to focus on. I want to forget about what I went through and look to the future. I don’t know if I will be good enough to go to the Paralympics, but I am going to try my hardest to get there,” he said.
Travis’ mum Linda shares his passion for horses and said the Dare to Dream Scholarship will help him achieve his goal of becoming a great dressage rider.
“After watching Travis fight to beat the odds and survive bone cancer, it was devastating to see him struggle to learn how to use his left leg after they removed half of his fibula. He has amazed me with his strength and determination to continue riding, even when he is in pain,” she said.
We’ll be watching for you at the 2032 Paralympics, Travis!
Since 2013, Redkite and Coles have awarded more than $650,000 in Dare to Dream Scholarships to support young Australians whose aspirations and goals have been impacted by their cancer diagnosis.