His fun personality infuses his bright eyes and his cheeky grin just makes you want to return one of your own – upon meeting Greenacre local Moustafa Ardati, you feel instantly at ease.
It’s not long before you see past his wheelchair and meet the real Moustie: a mischievous and funny gentleman, and a mad keen Bulldogs supporter to boot.
Moustie was born with cerebral palsy, a permanent disorder that affects a person’s ability to move – but he hasn’t let that stop him. If anything, it spurs him on to greater heights because he knows he is one of the lucky ones.
“Being born with cerebral palsy is quite a challenging feat. I watched others complain about the little amount of independency they had; while I hadn’t any. I could only dream of where I would have been had I any,” said Moustie.
In 2011, Moustie jump started his life by beginning weight training. With the help of personal trainers and a personalised exercise plan, he has gained the use of his right arm, increased his confidence and self-esteem, and allowed him to speak more clearly without losing his breath. But his progress has come with a price:
“Financial circumstance has been a major barrier in terms of training as I require assistance, e.g. personal trainer. Not being able to train for close to a year made me somewhat frustrated as it felt like I was hitting the pause button on my life,” said Moustie.
When Canterbury League Club heard about Moustie’s story, they responded by providing him with a complimentary membership to C-Life Health Club so that Moustie has the space to continue to train with his personal trainers who volunteer their time to help him.
“Physical exercise has contributed to improving all facets of my life and has enabled me to gain some sense of independency. Exercising has given me the life I never had; the life which I wished to have. I am now able to enjoy my hobbies, focus on work and concentrate on my future endeavours.”
Moustie is currently studying for his masters and works as a web designer. He has represented Australia in wheelchair-powered football in Brazil last April and has been recently selected to play for Australia in the world championships electric wheelchair hockey in August. He hopes to move towards a full time career in motivational speaking.
“It is inspirational to see this young man achieve so much even though he has more challenges to overcome compared to others. He embodies what a healthy and positive mindset coupled with determination can do when you set your mind to it,” said Dr George Peponis OAM, Chairman of the Canterbury League Club.