Cherilyn Fox (she/her)
Disability and Mental Health
Place of Birth: Windsor, New South Wales, Australia
Current location: Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia
Age: 30 years old
Language/s: English only
LGBTQIA+: Not disclosed
NDIS Participant: Yes
Diagnoses: Multi-trauma motor vehicle accident; left leg amputation (high thigh), stoma (from injury to large colon), right hip fractures, pelvic fractures, bladder injury, facial lacerations and more. PTSD, ADHD, Anxiety, Previous substance abuse.
Healthcare Access: Primary Health Care, Allied Health, Mental Health, Secondary and Tertiary care
In 2021, just before her 30th Birthday , Cherilyn had a life-changing car accident that the attending emergency response crews and medical professions feared she would not survive - requiring resuscitation at the scene. As the most critical patient in the Intensive Care Unit for more than 1 month, Cherilyn had an array of injuries - from a severed femoral artery causing a thigh high left leg amputation, as well as a smashed pelvis and hip fractures to collapsed lungs, a perforated bowel requiring surgery to create a stoma (colostomy), a ruptured bladder requiring a temporary catheter as well as many other injuries. Despite being home from an extensive hospital admission and rehabilitation, she is still in the midst of recovery as she navigates life as someone with an acquired disability, requiring the use of a wheelchair. Less than a year after her accident, Cherilyn is determined to be the person that she wish she was able to look to when she was experiencing some of her darkest days - both before and after the accident. Cherilyn wishes to be a role model, both seen and heard, to people with acquired disabilities worldwide, demonstrating that you can use your lived experience to uplift others and create positive social and system change.
Cherilyn reflects on her accident as a passenger, and how a history of substance abuse could have easily put her in the drivers seat that day inflicting injuries on herself and others. This has led her to be passionate about speaking up about alcohol and other drug abuse and being involved in prevention campaigns and speaking opportunities as someone with lived experience, who has a very unique perspective. She has previously been involved in PARTY programs - the Prevention of Alcohol Related Trauma in Youth, and wishes to grow her impact in this area. She also has experience with ADHD and mental health, and can lend great insights through her lived experience here. She wishes to engage with both the mental health sector and as a peer with others with lived experience to normalise talking about the bad days, and having honest conversations about mental health. She also sees greater opportunity in improving the ADHD diagnosis process for women in particular, as it took until she was 29 years old to be diagnosed.
Cherilyn is an incredible and intriguing woman with a lot of diverse perspectives - as someone living in a rural area, born to two adopted parents, and with a wealth of life experience behind her. Cherilyn has previous experience in sex work, which gives her a unique perspective on disability and sexual expression as she has witnessed the change in how people have perceived her since acquiring her disability. Reducing ableism and improving access to sexual expression, rights and wellness for people with disability is an area in which Cherilyn has great strength - already working as a media spokesperson and model for Wow Tech Group - a world leader in the design, manufacturing, and marketing of premium intimate pleasure products. For Cherilyn, it is important to make disability sexy, and also reduce stigma.
More broadly, Cherilyn would love to make the world more accessible and wheelchair friendly and create communities for those with newly acquired disabilities to ensure they don't feel lost, unloveable and alone.
Media Spokesperson for Wow Tech Group on Disability and Sexual wellness
Model for Wow Tech
Lived Experience Presenter in Prevention of Alcohol Related Trauma in Youth (PARTY) program 2021-present
Presenter at 'U Turn the Wheel' 2022 with Goulburn Mulwaree Council
Blogging and product review for Lovehoney