House debates

Monday, 15 February 2021


Bloom, Ms Sam

7:55 pm

Photo of Jason FalinskiJason Falinski (Mackellar, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Who amongst us here is good enough to have a movie made about their lives? Who can claim to be so charismatic that Naomi Watts would be happy to portray us? None, I am guessing. But such a person does exist on the Northern Beaches of Sydney—a person who has strength and determination, a person who is a passionate adventurer, a talented surfer and a dedicated mother of three. I speak, of course, of the great Sam Bloom.

Sam was born on 13 August 1971. Growing up on the Northern Beaches with her two siblings, she developed an affinity for the ocean at an early age. This love of the ocean inspired her first passion: surfing. Sam would meet her friends down at Bilgola Beach every afternoon after school in order to go surfing. She admits that she was the only girl surfing in a pack of boys, but I have no doubt that Sam had no trouble keeping up with her male counterparts. Sam was equally as passionate about travelling as she was about surfing. Her wanderlust was inspired by her parents, who took her and her brothers and sisters out of school for three months in order to travel across Australia.

Sam shared both her love of the ocean and her thirst for adventure with her husband, Cameron, whom she met shortly after graduating high school. After 10 years together, they started their own family. Their first-born son, Rueben, was shortly followed by Noah and their last child, Oli. Desperate to share their love of travel with their children, Sam and Cam took their children on their first overseas holiday to Thailand. What was meant to be a picturesque beach holiday turned into anything but that. The family spent their first morning frolicking in the tropical waters before they retreated to the small hotel to embrace the view from the observation deck, which is when everything changed for the worse for this family. Sam leant on the balcony, craving a closer look at the beauty before her. The wood below her gave way, and her section of the balcony fell more than six metres onto the concrete below. Her sons and husband can recall the horrific scene. They looked down only to see Sam unconscious and badly injured. Life as the family knew it had changed. Sam had a severe spinal cord injury.

Understandably, Sam spent much time grieving the loss of her old life. Now a full-time wheelchair user, she had lost her independence and relied on her husband for even the smallest things. Her middle son found an injured baby magpie that had fallen out of her nest. Desperate to bring the black and white waddling magpie to safety, he brought Penguin home, and Sam nursed her back to health. Noah believes that the injured bird unified his family at a time when the Blooms needed it the most. Sam believed it was Penguin that gave her hope. As the bird's injuries began to heal, Sam began to heal, too. She started kayaking and was grateful to soon be accepted for the Australian paracanoe team. She travelled to Italy to compete in the world championships. Five years after that fateful day, Sam began to surf again, albeit lying down. To no-one's surprise, Sam was as determined and passionate as ever. She was soon selected to compete with the Australian adaptive surfing team in San Diego.

Now a published author, Sam and her family have travelled a long way since that accident in 2013. I stand today proud to commend the lived bravery and strength of Sam Bloom and her family. We are so lucky to have such an inspiring individual and an incredible athlete within our community. I highly recommend seeing the movie as it is very worthwhile and it is a great Australian production.

House adjourned at 20:00