Mzansi’s 100 of 2017: Trailblazer, Dries Millard was left paralysed by a car accident just weeks before he received his Junior Springbok call-up.
Was this the end for 27-year-old Millard? Absolutely not.
Living as a T8 paraplegic did nothing to dissuade Millard’s ambition. He returned to the beach and relearned how to surf; and in 2015 he represented South Africa at the International Surfing Association’s 2015 World Adaptive Surf Championships, winning the national colours he so rightfully deserved.
If you’re wondering why Millard didn’t just quit sports post-accident, he answers frankly, “I am not dead yet.”
“…I live my life by a set of codes or rules. You realise how ridiculous the rules of the world have become and being dependent on a wheelchair, I was simply forced to gain and create my own perspective. Times and technology are changing fast and it’s becoming easier to lose yourself amidst it all. So I have to be strict with myself and maintain who I am. My rules help me stay on track, most of the time,” says Millard.
In Millard’s world ‘disability’ doesn’t exist because he believes that we are all able, regardless of our physical impediments. Millard is the founder of Extreme Abilities – a non-profit that teaches the disabled how to surf. The main objective of the NPO is to help disabled people realise their inner abilities. The Extreme Abilities philosophy is that you’re only as limited as you allow yourself to be.
7 quotes by Millard to live by:
1. “Freedom is expensive and the currency is tolerance.”
2. “To be truly selfless you need to be selfish first.”
3. “In most cases ignorance is not bliss.”
4. “Feelings are important, but facts shape the world.”
5. “Safe spaces are the same as comfort zones and those are euphemisms for a self-enforced mental trap.”
6. “Social justice is a contradiction.”
7. “Don’t be a sheep, they become chops.”