Beyond Basic Needs

by Judy Robinet, Executive Director of A Life Worth Living

October is Disability Employment Awareness Month designated to give us the opportunity ‘to promote employment inclusion for people with disabilities and to celebrate the many varied contributions of workers with disabilities.’ As you know, we not only work to provide for our basic needs; we also work to engage in activities that bring us joy. In my previous blog, I introduced you to a businessman with an 80% hearing loss, Mark Wafer, and his love of race car driving. From his perspective, Mark explains that motor sports provide a level playing field for those with severe hearing loss since everyone’s hearing is reduced because of the deafening noise factors when racing.

Mark drives a 1988 Porsche Rothmans Turbo Cup which can go to speeds of 300km an hour. He has won 15 races and 2 Championships in the Historic Series known as the G70 G90 for sports cars built between 1974 and 1994. His success does not come without barriers. Officials ask more questions about his eligibility to race when applying for a license. With “Driver is Deaf” written on his car roof, he has been pulled off the track. Mark is accustomed to overcoming barriers. “Most people in racing are fantastic. The barriers I run into in motor sports are no different than what people with disabilities face when they try to get into the workplace.” He confirms that people with disabilities can successfully adapt. In my next blog, Mark shares how he became so successful in motor sports.