In 1994, the young, fit and energetic 19 year old Perry Cross put on his mouth guard and ran out onto the footy field, ready for another big game of rugby union in front of his family, friends and mates. Moments later he went into a tackle and his life changed in an instant. He would never walk, feel, or breathe on his own, again. Perry was left a C2 ventilated quadriplegic.
Paralysed from the neck down, relying on a ventilator to breathe and requiring 24/7 medical care, his life as a fit, young teenager and sportsman was suddenly one of devastation.
Amidst the heart-break, grief and pain somehow Perry carved out a new lease on life and within a few years, became one of the world’s most inspiring motivational speakers and spinal research advocates – with one mission, to find a cure for paralysis. He has since dedicated his life to helping others, raising awareness of spinal injuries and creating a movement that has seen tens of thousands of people applaud, recognise and support the need for urgent research to cure paralysis.
Perry has been heralded by media worldwide as a tremendous role model for the human spirit in overcoming the odds.
In 1996 – just two years after his accident, he became Australia’s first motivational speaker on life support and was runner-up in the prestigious International Communicator of the Year Awards. He’s been awarded Suncorp Young Queenslander of the Year, finalist in the Young Australian of the Year Awards, was the first quadriplegic to complete a Communications and Business degree at Bond University, published numerous books, was named “Cure Warrior Advocate of the Year” at the International Working 2 Walk Symposium and in 2018 was chosen as a Gold Coast Commonwealth Games baton bearer.
He has travelled to the United States as an advisor to the United Nations General Assembly on behalf of young Australians and met his look-alike, the late Christopher Reeve to discuss research and raise awareness and funds towards a cure for paralysis Perry met with the Governor General and Prime Minister as an envoy for Reeve, lobbying the legislation of Stem Cell Research.
It was that work with Christopher Reeve, that inspired Perry Cross to launch Australia’s own foundation and he is now the President and Founder of the Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation..
The Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation has one main aim, to find a cure for paralysis.
Perry’s motto is simple and he lives his life by it every day ‘Everything is possible.’