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12 July 2018

Kevin M

Kevin

Kevin sells The Big Issue at Claremont Quarter, The Arts Bridge and Royal Perth Hospital. 

My name is Kevin and I am just an ordinary Kiwi guy who has a dream. That dream is to make a difference in other people’s lives.

The day before my third birthday my father died. He was a bowler for a competitive cricket team and he died from an injury he sustained playing cricket when the ball hit him hard in the neck. The impact on my family was huge; now my mother was a single mum who had to raise five kids on her own. It was a pretty tough childhood.

I was born with a rare hereditary disease that attacks the muscles. While growing up I was able to play sport and do most things along with holding a decent job. I was a marine radio operator, which included responding to distress calls.

I was approaching 40 and life was good, not easy or great, but everything was okay. That was until one morning when I got out of bed and just fell to the floor. I couldn’t walk. Have you ever been in a pit so far down that you threw the ladder away and just wanted to take up residence there? Well that was me, feeling self-pity and frustration.

I am now in a wheelchair. Jobs became harder to get, people saw the chair, not me. As so many doors closed, so did the belief within myself.

I met a guy, David L, who told me about The Big Issue. This $7 book has changed my life and given me a purpose. It has given me hope and helped me to believe in myself again. I now see my dream turning into an achievable goal, to give hope to others who may look different on the outside and might be hurting on the inside.

I really enjoy living in Perth (my brothers were already here when I decided to move over from New Zealand around 2000) and find the people are very friendly and helpful. The money I make from selling The Big Issue helps out a lot with things like groceries and paying the bills. I have a lot of regular customers who stop to chat on most days, even when they are not buying the magazine. I have met so many generous people, you know who you are. I just want to say thank you and, as I continue this journey, I hope others will want to also help others that aren’t as blessed as themselves. 

Photo by Ross Swanborough

Interview by Sonya Bateman
Perth