Ellen Keane on Being a Role Model

Season 1, Episode 8
Oct 16, 2020, 01:00 AM

Para swimmer Ellen Keane on the transition from being conscious about her disability to becoming an international role model.

Ellen Keane sits down for an emotional discussion about how years of being conscious about her disability led to her becoming an international role model for young people across the world. 

Keane, who represents Ireland in Para swimming, was born with a disability that she describes as her "lucky fin", but spent many of her teenage years hiding it from the world and not accepting herself. "I had convinced myself that I was unworthy of love, less of a person. I was so afraid of not being good enough and nobody would accept me." 

But when she took to the pool, Keane’s life changed and transformed her into an advocate for change and example for thousands of people worldwide. From Allianz telling her story in television adverts and on posters across Dublin, to Ellen using her social media platforms as an opportunity to engage with people whose situation she has been in, she has become not only a sporting idol but also a media personality. 

"I was a Paralympian at 13. I met a girl in Australia and I was the first person she’d ever met with an arm like hers. I just told her 'we can have fun with it.' I now FaceTime her and tell her how important it is to not hide her arm. It’s her little magic thing that nobody else has got. Being different is in fashion these days... so, roll with it!" 

Allianz is a long-standing partner of the International Paralympic Committee. Together, we’re proud to bring you this series of podcasts. We aim to help you move forward in all aspects of your personal and professional life. 

By hearing from Paralympic stars, you’ll be introduced to stories that inspire and change the way you think. Stories of facing life’s challenges with confidence, determination and excellence, and the true power of having the right team behind you.