They call themselves Legless and Blind, and they promote a message of resilience.
- Both of Mike Rolls' legs were amputated for medical reasons
- A rare genetic syndrome saw Ben Pettingill lose his eyesight at age 16
- The Far West visit was an initiative of Ski For Life, a charity that promotes mental health
Ben Pettingill, who is 98 per cent blind, and double amputee Mike Rolls recently completed a speaking tour through Broken Hill and Tibooburra.
The Far West visit was an initiative of Ski For Life, a charity that promotes mental health, wellbeing, and suicide prevention.
Mr Rolls said dealing with setbacks was a part of everyone's life.
"It's all about resilience and lessons learnt from that, and giving people real life strategies that they can apply to their own lives," he said.
Mr Rolls was 18 years old when he contracted meningococcal septicemia on a footy trip in Tasmania.
His condition was so serious his family were told to say their farewells while he was read the prayer of last rites.
While he his still here to tell the story, he spent five weeks in an induced coma, had his right leg amputated, and spent six months in hospital.
Nine years later he suffered a bone infection in his left leg and he made the decision to have that limb removed as well.
It was about "ditching the dead weight" — a mindset he freely shares with his audience.
"I think a lot of us can relate to that. We all have something … that takes away from our ability to be our best and that was my leg for me," he said.
Blurred vision in school one day, blind the next
Mr Pettingill was a 16-year-old high school student when he experienced blurred vision in class.
The next day he had lost 98 per cent of his eyesight to a rare genetic syndrome Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy.
Being blind has not stopped him living an active lifestyle.
He used a radio headset to water ski at high speeds in the Murray River event The Southern 80, and he has walked the Kokoda Track twice with his wife Amy.
"When we were over there Amy said 'I'm going to guide you every step of the way' and after two hours of walking she was that tired from having to explain every single step and put that into words for me, and then concentrating on what she was doing," he said.
Mr Pettingill said the visit to Tibooburra Outback Public School was one of the highlights of their trip to the Far West.
"Speaking to the teachers, the students probably don't get exposure to a double amputee — as Mike is — and someone who is blind like myself," he said.
"The reaction has been amazing, filled with curiosity. So many great questions."