Did you recognise the medal festooned young man on our front cover in our Issue 86 Magazine?

No? Well if you have driven across the Bribie Island bridge and glanced at the magnificent Dale Marsh mural billboard at the Island’s roundabout then you have more than likely seen him for sure, possibly daily if you are a regular commuter. You see our cover story this issue focuses on that young man.

Featured image(above): Timothy – the boy in the painting – seen below

His name is Timothy Gould and Timothy just happens to be that little boy you can see in the David Marsh artwork playing in the sand while the two girls leap off the dune. But this story is more than an “I wonder what became of…” moment. It is a story that shows how with the love, support, and encouragement of his family and an outstanding personal drive and determination this young man has succeeded at the highest international level of his chosen sports.

Because you see Timothy was born with Down Syndrome, which is a genetic disorder that causes intellectual disability and other physical and learning challenges. The disorder is also known as ‘trisomy 21’ as it is caused by the presence of an extra copy of chromosome 21. It affects about one in every 700-900 babies. Timothy’s obviously proud mother Jennifer, tells us that he was just three years old when the painting was produced. He is now 27 years of age.

“At the time the mural was painted there was a lot of issues in the media about prenatal chromosome testing for Down Syndrome and issue of abortion of pregnancies with positive testing,” said Jennifer. “Having Timothy in the mural showed that he just looked like any other three-year-old playing in the sand.

He has been brought up like any young man being given every opportunity to achieve his personal goals.” Jennifer says that Timothy has demonstrated his ability and prowess in the sporting arena. “Timothy started to learn to swim as an eight-month-old baby and swimming continues to be a big part of his life today. He also started learning to play tennis as a seven-year-old,” she said. Jennifer tells us that he has been involved with Special Olympics since he was eight years old. She says this involvement with the organisation has given him the opportunity to try multiple sports.

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“He represented Australia at 16 at the World Summer Games 2007 in Shanghai, China for Tennis,” said Jennifer. This year Timothy represented Australia at the World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi in March. These Games were the biggest Humanitarian and sporting event in the world for 2019. The swimming was held at the Hamadan Sports Complex in Dubai. “He won Gold in the 4 x 100-metre freestyle relay, 4th in the 100-metre backstroke, 5th in 100-metre and 200-metre freestyle.

On our arrival back in Australia, Timothy got the notification that he will represent Australia in the INAS Games that is being held in Brisbane in October this year,” said Jennifer. “Our family moved to Bribie Island in 1990. Timothy was born in 1991. He attended Primary school at Banksia Beach until grade five and then went to Caboolture East State school. He was enrolled at the Mueller College for his High School years.” Jennifer says the family lived in Bellara and had a business in Benabrow Ave called Island Video for five years before moving to Ningi in 1999 where they lived until 2015.

“Timothy works as a groundsman at Arethusa College in Deception Bay five days a week. He has swim training three times a week and trains and plays tennis weekly, “ she said. According to Jennifer, Bribie is still a place Timothy and her family love to visit. “It is still one of our favourite places in the world. There are still several friends that live and work on the island that Timothy love s to catch up with,” she said.

So the next time you are heading back to Bribie and cross the bridge, take another look at the Dale Marsh mural that greets you and now know that the little boy in the iconic painting who is playing in the sands on Bribie went on to become an Olympian doing, himself, his family and Australia proud.

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