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Sometimes life deals a rotten card to some. Zak Bowers was born with an acquired brain injury which would seriously affect his future ability to walk. Medicos predicted that he would never be able to walk, however his loving parents, Jeff Burnet and Karen Bowers refused to accept this diagnosis and with their help and encouragement, Zak was walking by the age of six. 

At an early age Zak attended the Caboolture Special School where he became a popular student. Gaining a Wheelchair Operators Licence, he would steer wheelchair bound students around the campus. This generosity of spirit would not go unnoticed as Zak grew older. Angela Blinco lived in the same Bribie street as Zac’s family and noted his good manners and helpful nature. “Even as a young boy Zak would willingly help people around the neighbourhood,” Angela remembers. Witnessing him growing into a fine young man and with the advent of the NDIS scheme, she was appointed as Zak’s support worker. 

Zak has a special love of horses, which led him to gain a Stable Hand’s Licence. This qualification permits him to enter stables to groom, feed and exercise horses, which he regularly does at local stables and at trotting meets at the Redcliffe and Albion Park Paceways. Local football also features as one of Zak’s interests, where he assists the Bribie Island Juniors Rugby Leagues Club in various capacities.

But it's on Bribie’s foreshore that Zak’s profile can be seen in full view. Seated on his bright red electric bicycle, a Christmas present, he visits his many shopkeeper friends, including Trevor at his Bait and Tackle shop, and the owners of the cafés that dot the foreshore. Some call him the Sheriff, others the Mayor of Bribie. “Everyone on the foreshore knows him and he knows whatever is happening there. He loves helping the shopkeepers put out their tables, chairs and signs. He even stacks fridges for them,” laughs Angela. 

When it’s all said and done, Zak Bowers proves that you never let a disability get in your way! 

Richard Lancaster

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