The extraordinary achievements of Robert Farley from the confines of a wheelchair are presented here to celebrate not only his life – Robert died in 2011 – but the lives of all those stout-hearted people for whom each day is a daunting physical struggle.

Robert was born in 1945. Seven years later he contracted polio and lost the use of his legs. His youth was spent at Margaret Reid Hospital, returning home as a teenager, wheelchair-bound.

Image ~ Robert Farley in 1993

The family was not privileged, yet Robert found wealth in devoted loved-ones, including nieces and nephews, who willingly shared caring for their most likeable, smart (often too mischievous) relative. As memoirs reveal, he used those rickety wheels to create more fun and danger than any child’s legs ever did.

Robert Farley’s creative and productive life puts my abled laxity to shame. He crafted commissioned toys and furniture, wrote prose with literary awards, was an artist, poet, playwright, Citizen of the Year, he chaired disability services, studied, volunteered, consulted… the very things most of us could not with our perfectly good two legs but perhaps journeyman brains.

Disability might have spurred Robert Farley’s sharp brain to heights we envy, but given the choice he would surely, like anyone, have traded them for effortless mobility and a less painful daily toil.