Mark experienced many of life’s challenges all at once – a sinking house and disputes with his local council, on top of a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and his realisation that the illness was ready to progress to the next stage, leaving him wheelchair-bound.
Mark was in a dark place, in the grip of depression and anger, and thoughts of suicide that lead him to the edge of a cliff. In that bleak moment, a glimmer of something caught Mark’s attention, maybe a sunbeam piercing through the clouds, a wave in the ocean, or a bird in the sky.
Mark’s thoughts turned to his wife and daughter and the difficulties he would leave them in. He also realised that if he could find solace and beauty in nature, there must be more to life he was yet to explore.
Mark captured a moment of serenity with his old Samsung mobile phone.
As he looked at the photo, Mark wondered if he could share the beauty of nature, perhaps it could inspire change in others too.
Mark reached out to his NDIS Support Coordinator, who had witnessed his deteriorating health and self-neglect.
A friend had recommended the Quest for Life program at Quest, and with the help of his Support Coordinator, Mark enrolled in the five-day program.
“At Quest, I learned so much about myself. The whole program was awesome. It transformed my life for the better. I also met some incredible people – a broad mix of people, but we all bonded without whinging. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. I feel at peace and truly like myself again.”
Fuelled by his appreciation for the natural world, Mark started on a journey of learning and developing skills in capturing the beauty of the world through photography.
Self-taught, he used YouTube for tutorials and practiced, then practiced some more.
Mark extended an invitation on Facebook for a ‘blokes catch-up,’ calling out to other men interested in taking a beach walk, snapping a few photos, and sharing a cuppa. His passion for photography and the desire to connect with others is helping to grow a community who are sharing their insights into photography.
His talents didn’t go unnoticed. The CEO of the MS Society saw Mark’s photos and encouraged him to apply for the “Go for Gold” scholarship for photographers. Mark won a $3,000 scholarship and used it to purchase a camera and laptop, items he’d never owned before.
Mark’s advice to anyone considering a Quest for Life program is:
“Absolutely do it – it changes you and life for the better.”
Mark’s story is testament to resilience and hope.
He shares his story as part of Quest’s 2023 Christmas Appeal. Donations provide transformative care for those who have experienced trauma.
Please help more people like Mark to have a second chance in life and donate to Quest’s 2023 Christmas Appeal.