For Fitness Sake we talk with Sydney Performer, Jonathan.

Earlier this month, Sydney performer Jonathan Nash-Daly, took on the challenge to move 100km in 10 days and raise funds for For Fitness Sake. We caught up with him to find out more…


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What made you want to do the for fitness sake challenge?

I did the for fitness sake challenge last year for the first time and I realised just how easy it is to help those in need and to raise money to go towards a fund that really makes a difference which is why I knew I had to do it again this year with my best mate. We take for granted what we consider as ‘normal’ and when you realise that there are people out there who are less fortunate than you and that you can so easily help them by doing something such as walking a few km's to raise a few dollars, why not?

What are they raising funds for?

For Fitness Sake work in conjunction with House With No Steps and are raising money for children with disabilities. The money raised goes towards a few different vital areas including medical bills, school funding, everyday supplies, respite, travel expenses and so much more.

Walk for those who can't, raise your voice for those who are not capable and let's make a difference in this world for the people who really need it.


How can others help this cause?

A great way is to get involved with this 10 day challenge when it comes around again next year and try and reach 100km's in 10 days and get sponsored by friends and family or you can donate straight to House With No Steps or any charity out there related to helping kids live a better life. There are countless large walks through Sydney and all over Australia raising money for all kinds of causes and all you have to do is walk, something that we take for granted as something not everyone is capable of doing. Walk for those who can't, raise your voice for those who are not capable and let's make a difference in this world for the people who really need it.

What can you tell us about growing up with a sibling who has a disability?

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My foster brother Mark has Cerebral Palsy and I can honestly say that he has made me the person that I am today. He has been with us since 4 days old and he turned 18 last year. It has been both challenging and rewarding in every way possible for both mum and I but I would not have changed a single thing over the last 18 years of being his older brother and carer. He has taught me patience, perseverance, kindness and love as well as opening my mind up to the world of disabilities that not many people get to see. Being apart of this world since the age of 5 has shaped my life and my way of thinking as well as reminding me never to judge a book by its cover and the fact that no matter what disability a person may have or how different a person may be, all they want is to be treated like everyone else and be apart of society like everyone else. Mark's disability means that his speech and motor skills are affected but outside of the directly associated disabilities he is the kindest, smartest, funniest and most loving little boy with an absolute heart of gold and an amazing addiction to playing video games with me like any two brothers in the world would do. He has paved the way for my way of life and I will forever be grateful to the universe for bringing him into my life.

He has taught me patience, perseverance, kindness and love as well as opening my mind up to the world of disabilities that not many people get to see.


Did your brother go through an early intervention program as a child?

Growing up I was still finding my own way in life so I wasn't fully aware of everything that was going on. Mum was the sole carer of Mark as well as raising me as a single parent so Mum looked after all of the appointments and hospital visits etc. I know that he has been involved with various types of therapy over the years, mainly speech and physio and has been in and out of hospital more times than any kid should have to endure. He has participated in various activities through school including swimming for the disabled which he always seemed to enjoy and gymnastics was something he always put in 100% as well. Growing up in a dance family we always tried to teach him at the barre to help his motor skills increase and between watching me perform all my life and teaching him at home we found dancing and singing were always a go to especially when his favourite artist Timomatic would come on and he would do baby freezes on the floor and try and show me tap steps that I had taught him the week before. I doesn't let anything get in the way of the joy he gets when we dance together and when he shows me a new acro trick he has learned at school.

What is something you wish people knew about cerebral palsy?

I find that a lot of people think there is only one level of disability and you either have a disability or you don't. I think one of the main pieces of wisdom I would want to share with the world, and this goes for all disabilities, is that there are so many levels within each disability and each person is completely individual with how far on the spectrum they are. For example, Cerebral Palsy is both a mental and physical disability that for some means using a wheelchair and or being completely non-verbal whereas we have been working with Mark his whole life and been training his motor skills so he was only using a wheelchair for the first half of his life and now walks around very confidently, still a little shaky a times and we never take our eyes off him, but he has come such a long way since the day we fostered him and has become a very bright and independent young man. His verbal skills are still restricted to sounds and a few key words but after 18 years of living with him I can understand everything he says and you can see that in his mind he knows everything he is saying and the struggle is that it just doesn't come out the way he would want it to but he as found a way to always be heard and if someone doesn't understand him he will try everything in his power to help them understand.

As a performer, what do you think about the performing arts industry in regards to inclusion? What would you like to see more of and what are your thoughts about artists living with a disability?

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I think both the performing arts world and the world in general have come a long way in understanding more about the world of disabilities however there is still so much to learn, even if you've been involved your whole life. I have been seeing more and more people with disabilities getting involved in the arts over the years though because they find it's an escape from reality and it is so easy to find joy in performing, no matter who you are. A lot of people with disabilities tend to revert to stand up comedy and find the joy in telling their story through the art of comedy which I think is a great medium for those wanting to share with the world something that makes them different and special.

John Lennon's 'Imagine' is the perfect song to understand just how magical this world could be if we keep the momentum going and keep looking up and over the horizon at the perfect world.

I very clearly remembering seeing a show at the Globe Theatre in London quite a few years ago and one of the leading men had a stutter and I just remember thinking how amazing and inclusive that was to not only be performing professionally but performing Shakespeare professionally with a stutter when most people have trouble with Shakespeare at the best of times. I have been seeing more and more dancers with disabilities on televised talent shows all over the world including dancers who are wheelchair users and it is so magical to watch these people not let their disability get in the way of their passion and skills. I think we are going the right way with inclusion, I think we still have a long way to go but the world is becoming a much safer space to showcase people from all walks of life and I think that is what's most important, that we keep moving in this direction towards the day when no matter who you are, where you're from, whether you have a disability or not, no one will be excluded and the world will be as one.

John Lennon's 'Imagine' is the perfect song to understand just how magical this world could be if we keep the momentum going and keep looking up and over the horizon at the perfect world.

Source: https://www.forfitnesssake.com.au/about-fo...