Tracy Watkins’ brother, Lee, was a source of great love and joy in her and her family’s lives. When he tragically passed away earlier this year, Tracy was inspired to share his story – both to honour his memory and to teach people the amazing feats people living with disability are able to achieve.
Tracy is the eldest of four siblings, Lee being the second eldest. She has three children of her own, and Lee has had an enormous influence on her entire family.
“Lee was the centre of our family, we were all so close to him. The relationship my mum had with Lee was so very special, the love they shared was inspiring. He has had a massive influence on, not just me, but also my husband and 3 children. Lee was everything that was good. Kind, loving and accepting towards everyone, he always wanted to help, his motto was ‘Be kind to everyone’. Lee loved to have a joke and a laugh” said Tracy
“Lee was an Activ customer for over 20 years. He was well known and respected by staff, volunteers and fellow customers within the organisation.
“Activ has been a huge part of Lee’s life. Lee lived in an Activ group home with 4 other men, who became his best mates. They had been together for 18 years so it was very hard for all of them when he passed. Lee attended PS&C (People, Skills & Community). Some of the things he loved was cooking, but mostly performing arts,” said Tracy.
Lee also loved to play sports. He played in the inaugural Fremantle CBC All Abilities team, participated in multiple 10-pin bowling competitions, and even played basketball in the Special Olympics, winning a medal. In 2013, Lee was an Ambassador for Activ in the Chevron City to Surf for Activ. He represented Activ before the event on the radio and in a TV advert, before walking the 4km race at the Perth event. Lee had Crohns disease and was legally blind, he never let them become an obstacle and he never gave up.
Tracy works as a special needs Teacher’s Assistant. She feels that her experiences with Lee has helped her tremendously with her work and now Tracy’s daughter, Chelsey, is looking to join her in the same field.
“Right now I’m on my teachers prac and I’d really like to specialise in special needs too.
“Lee taught me a lot, acceptance, resilience and kindness to name a few. My Uncle has helped inspire me to become a teacher, so I can help others and make a difference,“ said Chelsey.
After Lee passed away, Chelsey wanted to find a way to honour her uncle.
“I really wanted to find a way to honour my Uncle. So I started doing some research and I found this article called ‘The Lucky Few Tattoo.,” said Chelsey.
The Lucky Few is a design and movement created by a group of Mothers in America who have children living with Downs Syndrome.
“It all started with a group of women in America. They went away on camp and took a designer with them. Their aim was to find a way to connect everyone that has a family member, or friend who has Down Syndrome. It’s a way everyone can be united and give support to each other. So they came up with a tattoo and a group to bind them all together. The tattoo consists of three arrows, which represents trisomy 21. The Lucky Few tattoo represents resilience and never giving up. Moving forward and acceptance,” Tracy explained.
The movement is called ‘The Lucky Few’ to challenge the idea that it is unlucky to have a relative born with Downs Syndrome.
“Having someone with a disability in your life is actually a blessing and it can teach you a lot. It can change who you are. It’s definitely helped shape me into the person I am today and my morals and values reflect this,” said Chelsey.
Tracy and Chelsey have started a Facebook page named ‘The Lucky Few Australia’.
“I messaged the founder in America and asked her if I could start up a Facebook Page here in Australia. My hope and aim is for families and friends who have a loved one with Down Syndrome to get on board and be part of this world wide movement ‘ The Lucky Few’. My page is fairly new and I would love for others to join, share their photos, stories, hopes and dreams. We really are the lucky ones and it has been a privilege to be a part of my brother’s life for 43 years. People like my brother bring so much love, happiness and kindness to the world. They make the world a better place."
Activ was honoured to have a customer like Lee involved in our community for so long. He is truly missed by all who came in to contact with him.