Group 3

Meet Tania

Tell us about yourself?

My name is Tania Lewis, I am 52, I’ve been married to my hubby Lenny for 35 years. He is my best friend in life, we have known each other since we were little. Together we managed to create our daughter, she is beautiful, she is 25 now and is doing her own life. Life hasn’t always been great for us. Sickness happened and got in the way of our life,  I guess you could say. I had a stroke at 39, due to that I ended up in aged care.

How did you first connect with the Summer Foundation?

I met the Summer Foundation at a forum in Newcastle when I was living in aged care. They just happened to be at the table that I sat at, and you know everyone yaps at those things. They seemed to have the belief that I have, that people with disabilities should not be forgotten, we’ve all got purpose in life no matter how hard we do it.

We first met you over 11 years ago, how is life for you now?

When we met I was living in aged care, now I am living with my beautiful hubby and daughter in an SDA home. I am a casual employee with the Summer Foundation and I also have part time employment with another company called Community Disability Alliance Hunter. I am on the board of an indigenous corporation and I try to get involved in any work or events in the community. 

You started off as a volunteer with Summer Foundation, now you are employed as a casual working across a couple of co-design projects. Can you tell us about this work?

The most recent work I am doing with Summer Foundation is at a very crucial time. A lot of companies are now seeing the value of lived experience from people with disabilities. The Summer Foundation is going to draw from our lived experiences to create solutions together. 

Why do you share your experience and insights?

The power of peer support has taught me, if you don’t share what you know, how is anyone else ever going to learn from it or see it as a way forward. You know, someone sees you doing something and says “wow they can do that and they are in a wheelchair and they’re smashing goals and they’re trying and they are giving it a go, maybe we can do it.” 

Sharing what I have been through and what I know, it is who I am. It is a passion of mine now.

Do you have any advice for others thinking about connecting with the Summer Foundation and sharing their knowledge and experience?

Just come along (to workshops), pop your head in and have a listen. Listening is good sometimes, absorbing what others are doing until you feel comfortable to share. They never put pressure on people. The Summer Foundation has always put people first and put people with disabilities first. They do it 100% right.  I would do anything to help them because they have changed my life – through their eyes I have been able to see other people’s lives and seen life through others’ eyes. So go and pop your head in, I reckon.

If you are interested in sharing your story, please get in touch with us at:

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