The year 2011 was unforgettable in many ways - Queensland was hit with once in a lifetime floods, Prince William married his long-time girlfriend Kate Middleton, Qantas grounded its entire fleet over an industrial dispute with employees and the first issue of CPL’s Touchstone magazine was released.
Over the past decade, much has changed. In 2014, Queensland disability provider CPL underwent a name change from the Cerebral Palsy League to Choice, Passion, Life – CPL and in 2018 CPL acknowledged the milestone of 70 years working alongside people with disability and their families.
Now in 2021, CPL is ushering in a new digital era by introducing a Touchstone website.
CPL CEO Rhys Kennedy said the Touchstone website would replace the magazine while still retaining everything clients loved about it.
“It’s all about giving our clients more of what they loved in the magazine in a digital form and providing a bigger platform to shine a spotlight on themselves to share their amazing stories,” Mr Kennedy said.
“For more than a decade, Touchstone has informed our readers of the achievements of Australians with disability, introduced them to industry leaders and shared their stories, and now we are excited with a digital platform to be able to do more of this.”
Mr Kennedy said by transitioning to a website, CPL could implement world-class accessibility features and create an online community.
“Touchstone is a place for everyone, which is why we’ve added a range of accessibility features including adjustable font sizes, contrast setting, read aloud functions and more, so that people of all abilities can read and share the stories that matter to them the most,” Mr Kennedy said.
“In time, we hope the site will grow to become a place where you can interact with one and other, share insights, stories and make new friends.”
To celebrate the change, CPL caught up with Touchstone’s magazines original cover girl Gemma Johnson and her mother Alisha to see how life has changed over the past decade.
“I can still remember the first photoshoot when Gemma was only four-years-old,” Ms Johnson said.
“We had Gemma sign her autograph on a number of copies and handed them out to friends and family as she was the celebrity of the family.”
Ms Johnson said while much of Gemma’s mannerisms including her contagious laugh and determination have remained since she was little, like Touchstone, so much else has changed.
“When she was little, Gemma wanted to be a hairdresser just like me,” Ms Johnson said.
“Back then, Gemma used to give fake haircuts to her older brother and his friends with play dough scissors. They would sit in front of their video game console drenched in water from her spray bottle while she gave them a trim.
“These days, Gemma has gone down the sporting route and is a nationally registered para-athlete and a great dancer.
“I don’t know what Gemma will do when she’s older, like most 14-year-olds it changes daily, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see her representing Australia at the Paralympics or as an interior designer as she’s quite artsy.”
Ms Johnson the only thing she knows for sure is that her family wouldn’t be where they are now without CPL’s help.
“When Gemma turned three, and after her cerebral palsy diagnosis, we turned to CPL for fulltime support,” she said.
“For the past decade, Gemma has had regular sessions for physiotherapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy.
“Gemma has achieved a lot through CPL, they’ve helped her to walk, talk and get to the point she is now.
“CPL has also helped our family. I don’t know where we would be without CPL’s support and providing the answers to all our questions.”
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