On Monday night, Australian Story will repeat a profile of disabled activist Matt Laffan, who died in Sydney on March 1st.
Ben Cheshire, one of the producers working on Australian Story since the program began in 1996, says, “Quite often, people ask me whether I have a favourite story from all those years. And the answer is yes.
“It’s the story of Matt Laffan, a bloke small in stature but big in heart, who became a great friend to me.”
Laffan was born with a rare genetic disorder, diastrophic dysplasia, which meant that his limbs would not grow to the normal length. It was a one in a million chance, caused by both parents unknowingly carrying the recessive gene. He was given a week to live. At the age of ten, an operation to correct the twisting in his spine led to him becoming a paraplegic. Australian Story met Laffan in 2000 when he was 30.
He later became a lawyer with the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions, and a member of the NSW Rugby Judiciary. In his spare time, he ran a website with tips for disabled travellers. He even had a tilt at running for Lord Mayor of Sydney.
But in January he was admitted to hospital with respiratory failure.
Laffan also appeared on Enough Rope with Andrew Denton.
Australian Story airs 8:00pm Monday on ABC1.