Improving quality of life

RECOGNISED: Arthur Bozikas has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his years of work in disability services. Picture: Isabella LettiniARTHUR Bozikas knows a thing or two about overcoming adversity.

Born with a rare blood disorder called Beta Thalassemia Major –a condition which is typified by a lack of hemoglobin which can leadtoa build up of iron on the major organs –doctors told Mr Bozikas he would only live until he was 25.

“I had monthly blood transfusions since I was born,” Mr Bozikas said. “All my life it was drummed into me that I wasn’t going to live very long.

“Because of that I didn’t bother going to university and I found myself in a bit dark place.”

But the introduction of a new type of medication when he was 21gave the Minchinbury residenthope for the future.

Now 55-years-old, Mr Bozikashas been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his years of service indisability care.

Mr Bozikas has been involved with Self-Advocacy Sydney since 1996, and has been the executive officer since 2012.

The organisation educates, supports and trains people with a disability to become more independent and overcome life obstacles.

“This job gave me an opportunity to improve people’s lives.,” he said.

“The program is all about improving quality of life and believing in yourself.”

Mr Bozikas said he was humbled by receiving the award.

“It was a shock when I received the letter from the Governor General,” he said. “My family and I weretickled pink, but it is a strange feeling to have the focus on me.”

Mr Bozikas has served on various boards, includingDisability Advocacy Network Australia andthe NSW Ombudsman Disability Roundtable. He hasidentifiedinfrastructure improvements for disabled access asa member ofthe Blacktown City Council sub-committee and the Access Advisory Committee

Despite the heavy workload, the formerMount Druitt High School student has alsomanaged totickoff a number of items from his bucket list.

He married his wife Helen in 1985, and they hadtwo children, Jimmy and Pamela. In 2004, hecompleted a masters degree in management and went on to become a lecturer at Western Sydney University.

One achievement he is particularly proud of is the publishing of a novel, Black Op Zulu, which he describes as the Australian version of James Bond.

“I spent a lot of time in hospitals and read books to pass the time,” he said.“I book fell in love with was Casino Royale by IanFleming. I always wanted to write my own version and I was able to tick that off the list last year.

“But my focus has never left my work –that is my true passion and I don’t see myself stoppinganytime soon.”

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