From bedbound to global change

From bedbound to global change

This story of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit will inspire you and offer insights into how your own personal challenges can be the gateway to your next innovation and possibly change the lives of others around the world.

Kathryn Lyons innovation story starts when she was first diagnosed with a progressive degenerative unidentifiable connective tissue disorder, which left her bedbound for nearly six years after doctors had told her that she was going to die. Despite the doctor’s predictions, Kathryn got better and began living life in a wheelchair, which came with its own set of obstacles.

Unbeknown to most people who do not live with a disability, our technology driven, forward thinking and widely accepting western society does not effectively accommodate for the accessibility of people of disability. Most buildings have disabled bathrooms, but unless you have tried to access and use one of these facilities in a wheel chair, or with a seeing eye dog; you may not understand the difficulty and frustration that can come with what should be a simple visit to the bathroom. Due to these obstacles, people of disability often experience embarrassment, physical and emotional distress, and physical injury from accidents involved with the process of accessing and using disabled facilities. This frustration is the exact problem that Kathryn saw as an opportunity to innovate and change the lives of people all around the world.

So, in 2016 Kathryn embarked on a large and courageous journey to share her vision for change in the world. Kathryn has a simple but powerful mission statement, “All people have the right to use the bathroom with dignity”. This mission has taken Kathryn to the world stage, where she delivers motivational talks, workshops and drive legislation change. Kathryn has given a TED talk, met the Dalai Lama, and spoken with the Duke of York about bringing her latest innovation to market in Europe.

Kathryn’s latest innovation, birthed out of Logan, is a Not-for-Profit company called Accessibili-t. In collaboration with departments at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Kathryn is developing innovative product designs aimed at improving the quality of lives and standards for people of disability. These products have been patented, and Kathryn plans on releasing the details of her innovation once they have gone to market.

We are proud that Kathryn is a part of our INNOV8 Logan community and are excited to see her flourish as a change maker and innovator. Currently, Kathryn is liaising with all levels of government and private corporations to introduce tangible change through the implementation of her innovative structural fixtures and waste management modifications. She is also in negotiations with the government to improving the standards, codes and regulations, which she says will have huge socioeconomic benefits through socialisation, for retail, tourism, health, education and employment.

If that was not enough to inspire you to innovate, here are some of the achievements that Kathryn has also achieved in the past 2 years since starting her journey:

  • Kathryn has also been named Qld Youth Parliamentary Member for Waterford in 2019.
  • Winner Young Queenslander of the Year 2016
  • Finalist Young People Human Rights Medal of Australia, 2016
  • Winner City of Logan Community Award
  • Member Qld Youth Parliament
  • Kathryn has also been named Qld Youth Parliamentary Member for Waterford in 2018.

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