Esperance local follows sporting dreams despite vision impairment

Esperance local sporting enthusiast Georgie Beasley, about to go for a surf at West Beach. Photo: Jake Dietsch.
Esperance local sporting enthusiast Georgie Beasley, about to go for a surf at West Beach. Photo: Jake Dietsch.

An 18-year-old vision impaired athlete has not allowed her disability to stand in the way of her dreams.

Esperance local Georgie Beasley is passionate about sports and helping others.

She recently moved to Perth with the goal of pursuing new employment and reaching the next phase of her athletic journey.

Beasley has Stargardt disease, a progressive and degenerative condition which has rendered her virtually blind.

She first found out she had the condition when she had just started high school.

"I had no idea. It's a genetic condition but no one in my family had it," Beasley said.

She has since worked to turn a negative situation into an opportunity to raise awareness, through her Instagram page One Less Sense and other social media platforms. 

"At the start I couldn't see the positives, but then I've been inspired, and with the Instagram page, I got an overwhelming amount of positive feedback, which made me realise that it could help people to see that you can make a good thing out of a bad thing," Beasley said. 

Beasley plays competitive netball and basketball, surfs with her family and recently started snowboarding.

Her long term goal is to go to the Paralympics and compete in snowboarding.

"Snowboarding is not in the Paralympics yet, but hopefully it will be by then," Beasley said. 

Before moving to the city, she contacted VisAbility, an organisation which provides services to people living with a range of disabilities in their homes, at school, at work and in the community.

VisAbility youth support officer Ryan Honschooten said Beasley was an inspiration for other young people with disabilities.

"To see how much courage she's got to make that big leap [from Esperance to Perth] can be quite inspirational and motivational," he said. 

The organisation has put her in touch with Goalball WA to help her with her sporting goals and has supported her with employment and social needs. 

One game and it was already like wow, she's got talent, she's got potential.

VisAbility youth support officer Ryan Honschooten

VisAbility will also provide Beasley 'orientation mobility training', which helps vision impaired people to catch public transport.

"Our orientation mobility officers will go out and assess the travel route she needs to take, help her identify any dangers and help assess whether she needs any specific aid or equipment to get around," Mr Honschooten said. 

Mr Honschooten is also the youth coach and vice president of Goalball WA and found Beasley showed "great promise" after just one game.

"One game and it was already like wow, she's got talent, she's got potential," he said. 

In Esperance, Beasley found her family and Esperance Anglican Community School to be big supports.

The Rotary Club of Esperance Bay also gave her a grant of $4000 to purchase a laptop. 

Beasley said her message to other young people with a disability would be, "don't let anything stop you."

"I didn't think that I could keep playing sport, but I've figured a new way of doing it. Keep trying and don't give up," she said. 

To find out more about VisAbility click here.