Mr Calvin Rodgers

Calvin Rodgers is a truly inspirational Australian raised in my home town of Harvey in WA. He had a typical happy young life at school, was a talented local sportsman, was in the fire brigade and was a fitter and turner. In 2001 he was involved in a car crash that left him with less than 10 per cent vision in one eye, nearly deaf in one ear and with lifelong diabetes insipidus. His life changed dramatically, but Calvin brought the same positive approach to this as he had to everything he has done in his life. He retrained to become a sought-after remedial masseur, running his own practice.

In 2003 he started playing corporate lawn bowls in Harvey, then became a full bowling member. Since then he’s won all of the club championship events at Harvey except the men’s pairs, which is still on his agenda. But in 2020 he became involved in vision-impaired bowls—having less than 10 per cent vision, of course. His achievements are extraordinary—gold medals in all singles and pairs events since 2020, and gold and silver medals in the Australian Blind Bowlers Association’s National Championships. He was the 2021 Western Australian Disabled Sport Association’s WA Sports Star of the year. He has won silver and gold medals in WA’s All Abilities State Championships. In 2021 he was invited to join the Bowls WA academy as the only vision-impaired bowler. He was part of the Para-Jackaroos as well.

But the next challenge for Calvin came in 2021, when he was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer, with no hope of a cure or recovery. In his own words, ‘I’ve responded well to chemotherapy and radiation and will soon be scheduled for liver surgery to remove the remaining non-active cancer sites from my body.’ This was the reason Calvin missed out on a chance of selection for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. He’d had pinpoint radiation two weeks before having to fly to Queensland for the trials for the Multi-Nations World Bowls Championships trials. Can you imagine how hard that was? He’d been struggling just to walk around home a day or two before he had to leave. Doctors said it normally takes eight weeks for recovery, but Calvin was determined and he persisted. He succeeded and went on to win gold and silver at the championships in that eight weeks. Currently he has just competed in the International Blind Bowls Association World Championships, coming away with gold and silver medals, helping Australia to secure the overall team championships. He has had a loving and caring family and friends to help him get through. I really want to mention his parents, Greg and Christine, his fabulous wife, Shelley, and his children. He mentors and helps so many around him. Every Australian should be proud of Calvin Rodgers.