TIFFANY Thomas Kane is living proof that with dedication and perseverance, dreams can come true.
The 20-year-old Paralympian was a special guest at Bathurst's Australia Day celebrations on Wednesday.
An accomplished swimmer, Ms Thomas Kane has won medals at both the Rio and Tokyo Paralympics, and she won gold at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships in London.
She addressed Bathurst's Australia Day citizenship and awards ceremony, sharing her challenging story of success and inspiring others with it.
"COVID managed to postpone the 2020 Paralympic Games, held in Tokyo, which sent us into lockdown and closed swimming pools around NSW, meaning I could not train in the lead up to Tokyo, but also not knowing if it was going to go ahead at all," she said.
"Thankfully the games got pushed forward a year and some of the restrictions lifted, which gave me an opportunity to do some training and make the team for Tokyo.
"Unfortunately for me, at the beginning of the year I had an accident which resulted in me rupturing my liver and ending up in hospital.
"This was a massive challenge to me due to having the time out from COVID plus having additional time out with my liver injury, but, as usual, as soon as I was healthy enough I was back in the pool training as hard as I could, which resulted in achieving my position to head to Tokyo and compete in the Paralympic games."
When Sydney locked down again in mid 2021, Ms Thomas Kane had to pack her bags and get on a plane as quickly as possible so that she would be able to attend the games.
The experience taught her dreams can come true with hard work and motivation, and that was the message she passed on to Bathurst's new citizens as she formally welcomed them to Australia.
"Australia is a place where you can go and achieve your dreams," she said, later sharing with them her personal motto.
"... Never give up, it's just the beginning."
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