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Two best mates – one a double amputee and one 98 per cent blind – will deliver sessions on resilience and mental health awareness from Tuesday to Friday.

Mike Rolls and Ben Pettingill – affectionately known as Legless and Blind – are scheduled to speak at Koroit Football Netball Club on Tuesday at 7.30pm, the Flying Horse on Wednesday from 6pm, South Warrnambool Football Netball Club on Thursday from 7.30pm and the Port Campbell Pub from 6pm on Friday.

The events are free and aim to help people build real life resilience.

A bit about the boys

Mike’s story:

In September 2001, at the age of 18, Mike’s life changed forever. Whilst on a footy trip to Tasmania, he contracted one of the deadliest diseases on the planet, Meningococcal Septicemia.

A lethal, fast acting and brutal infection left him with horrific internal and external injuries, including multiple amputations. Mike’s faced an incredibly long journey back to health that was aided by a positive outlook, an adaptive mindset and a conscious decision to embrace uncertainty. 

Mike has a background in the health industry. He is a qualified Counsellor, a highly skilled communicator and a passionate supporter of amputee charity, Limbs 4 Life. He is an  official ambassador of Interplast Australia and New Zealand, and Ossur, and currently represents Australia in All Abilities Golf.


Ben’s story: 

Losing 98% of your eyesight overnight is something that is simply unimaginable for most people, however this was the reality for Ben Pettingill at age 16. 

Out of nowhere Ben found himself faced with extreme adversity thanks to a rare genetic syndrome that no one knew was coming. The sudden change was massive and the challenges came thick and fast in all different shapes and sizes. Building resilience, discovering a new perspective and learning the importance of a strong support network were all vital parts of Ben navigating from complete denial about what had happened, to embracing and taking ownership of his new situation.

 Ben has spent the last 7 years working with, and helping organisations around the country build resilience.

He could also be described as an adrenalin junkie, competing in water ski racing, obstacle course races and riding motorbikes and crossing the Kokoda track twice. You may have seen him featured on Channel 9’s This Time Next Year.

Ben also supports causes closest to his heart as the Ambassador of Vision Australia and Ski for Life.