Ausnew Home Care | Legless and Blind' mates’ battle with adversity

'Legless and Blind' mates’ battle with adversity inspires students

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They call themselves Legless and Blind, and they promote a message of resilience.

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.

Two men, one with prosthetic legs showing, smile for the camera, with a goat, in front of the Tibooburra town sign. Ausnew Home Care, NDIS registered provider, disability
The pair visited Tibooburra for with charity Ski For Life, which promotes mental health, wellbeing and suicide prevention.(

Facebook: Legless and Blind


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.

A boy with brown hair smiles while standing on a playground holding a prosthetic leg limb, Ausnew Home Care, NDIS registered provider, disability
A student from Tibooburra Outback Public School borrows a prosthetic limb. (

Facebook: Tibooburra Outback Public School


"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."

Source: ABC

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