You may have seen a three-wheeled bike (or trike, if you want to be more technically correct) on Beach Road during your weekend rides. If so, chances are you’ve come across Carol Cooke: SKCC club member, Paralympian, MS campaigner, and now, one of the Victorian State finalists for the 2015 Australian of the Year award. The winner will be announced on the 28th of October, and you can read the following from the Awards site, describing Carol’s journey and her contribution to the battle against MS, which was the reason why MS Australia nominated Carol:
After 32 years of training, three sports and one devastating diagnosis, Carol Cooke’s dream of winning a gold medal came true at age 51. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1998 just before her 37th birthday, Carol was determined to defy her doctor’s prognosis. A swimming champion in her youth, Carol took up competitive rowing, making the Australian rowing team in 2008 and 2009 and competing at the World Rowing Championships. She switched to cycling after buying a tricycle “on a whim”, going on to win a gold medal in Para-Cycling at the 2012 London Paralympics. The current World Champion in her sport, Carol motivates others living with MS to fulfil their dreams. In 2001, Carol established the 24-hour Mega Swim, which has since raised more than $6.2 million towards scholarships for people living with MS. While she has good and bad days, Carol has learnt to live for today and inspires Australians to focus on what they can do, rather than what they can’t.
Carol wasn’t aware that MS Australia had nominated her, but she’s incredibly honoured and humbled, and we’re also honoured that she has been nominated. We’ll be watching to see the results!