By Gary Anderson

Jordan Carroll (left) received his grant from Maryake Jonkers (centre) and Rachel Dodds (far right) during a ceremony in Sunshine Coast ©Sporting DreamsAlpine skier Jordan Carroll became the 100th recipient of a grant from the Sporting Dreams Foundation run by former Australian Paralympian Marayke Jonkers at a special presentation in the Sunshine Coast.

The 18-year-old was presented with the AUD$250 (£136/$219/€170) grant by Jonkers and London 2012 Paralympic athlete Rachel Dodds, the first ever recipient of a grant from the foundation.

Carroll was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer at the age of 12 that eventually led to him becoming blind.

But the youngster is fighting back and has designs on representing Australia at the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang and is currently training with the Australian squad.

"I couldn't be prouder of the achievements of Jordan Carroll," said Jonkers, a former swimmer who picked up a silver medal at Beijing 2008 and two bronze medals at Athens 2004.

"Despite losing his vision to cancer only one year ago, Jordan has shown he has the potential to become Queensland's first Winter Paralympian, having been invited to train with the national Paralympic team.

"The highlight for me was watching our first grant recipient Rachel Dodd present the 100th award and speak about how far she has come from dreaming of being a Paralympian to becoming a world champion."

Marayke Jonkers set up her charity following a successful career as a swimmer, including winning medals at the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Paralympics ©Marayke Jonkers

Jonkers, who became a paraplegic in a car accident at eight months old, founded Sporting Dreams in 2008, after being awarded a grant of AUD$10,000 (£5,450/$8,700/€6,845) when she won a national women's magazine award.

The Foundation aims to help Queensland-based athletes with disabilities to achieve fun, fitness and personal development through sport and to support future champions.

Carroll was one of 13 athletes to receive an introductory level grant of AUD$250 (£136/$219/€170) to assist them in taking up a sport.

Eight established athletes were awarded development grants of AUD$500 (£272/$437/€342) to assist them with training and competition costs.

"Becoming a Paralympian has changed my life and I want to ensure every athlete has the same opportunity to experience the benefits I have had through sport, which is why I started Sporting Dreams," added Jonkers, who has also represented Australia at the International Triathlon Union World Championships in 2009 and 2010.

To find out more about Sporting Dreams click here.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related Stories
January 2010: 
Grants boost potential Australian Paralympians