Article by The Daily Telegraph
MOST 83-year-olds would have hung up their skates decades ago, but Tony Stevens is still rolling along - all the way to Canberra.
The Georges Hall resident has been roller-skating for more than 70 years and later this month will skate from Sydney to Canberra to raise awareness for disabled children.
While still able to roll backwards, perform turns and glide on one leg, Mr Stevens will show off his speed-skating ability during the 286km trip, which he predicts will take him just one day.
When not skating unaided, he will clock up speeds of up to 70km/h by holding onto the back of a support van.
The senior citizen has requested a meeting with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd when he arrives in Canberra.
He hopes to discuss plans for a support program which would assist the parents of children with a disability.
When his late son Larry was born with Down syndrome in 1953, Mr Stevens said little help was available.
"Much more is done now, but nothing was done back then when my son was born; people didn't want to know about it,'' he said.
He also wanted to highlight the issues children with a disability face if they outlive their parents and have no family to care for them.
"The unending torment for the parents of a disabled child is: what's going to happen to them if they're not here?'' he said.
Mr Stevens is no stranger to roller-skating cross-country, having completed a 40-day trip around Australia in 1985 to campaign for more skating rinks.
He is a regular sight at the Condell Park netball courts, where he skates every Saturday morning with three other seniors.
"What I like about skating is that you can do it alone or with a crowd,'' Mr Stevens said.
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