Set goals, not resolutions

When New Year’s Eve comes around, I don’t set New Year’s resolutions – I set GOALS. This story in the Sunny Coast Times (January 2022) by Michele Sternberg explains how you can realise those resolutions, whether it’s losing weight, giving up smoking, exercising more, getting a new job or spending more quality time at home with your children. I share a few tips and tricks I use myself.

Dreams do come true

Journalist Caitlin Zerafa interviewed me for a story in My Weekly Preview magazine and I shared my story, how I set up the Sporting Dreams charity to help support future athletes with a disability and how I am continuing to inspire people from all walks of life through my corporate motivational speaking events.

Marayke at First Man preview

Movie premiere: First Man

I was excited to be invited by Universal Studios to premiere of #firstman – a movie about Neil Armstrong’s family and story behind that famous flight. Loved seeing the memorabilia when I visited NASA in Houston for the IWF Global Women’s Forum @johnson space centre. My biggest takeaway was something said by an astronaut as they all experienced space: When you change your perspective you see things differently – they were of course talking about their view or the whole world from space – but what if we tried to keep a bigger global world view about things that trouble me in daily life? I’m going to make a point of asking myself “is there another way to see this situation? Will this matter in 5 minutes, 5 hours , 5 months or 5 years in this changing world? KEEPING THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE and reaching the moon

Queens Baton Relay

Still pinching myself at the honour of carrying the Queen’s baton on the Sunshine Coast in front of my family. Wonderful to see so many generations from school kids to grandparents out cheering and all sectors of the community represented as baton bearers.


IN SEARCH OF AN OUTBACK LEGEND Nothing says Australia more than a postcard image of a rusty windmill and outback shed at sunset, the red earth stretching to the horizon as the odd mob of cattle – or even a stray camel – meander by. But just what are your chances of seeing all this if you use a wheelchair? Link travel writer Marayke Jonkers finds in Link Magazine Sitting at the bar in a country style pub enjoying a classic pub roast and a yarn with the locals, it’s clear I couldn’t be anywhere but Outback Australia. In this case I’m in the tiny town of Boulia in Western Queensland – home of the Min Min lights. My journey began two days earlier when I flew from Brisbane to Mount Isa, where my wheelchair was transported off the plane using a forklift-like device. We then collected our hire car, ensuring it was big enough to fit the wheelchair in the  boot, and began to explore. Mt Isa is the gateway to many of the great Outback towns of Western Queensland but it’s worth a visit in itself. The accessible ‘Outback at Isa’ experience covers everything from the history…

How many Paralympic & disability references did you spot in the Rio Olympics opening ceremony and Games ?

As a retired Paralympian who was inspired to take up sport watching the Olympics opening ceremony on television as a little girl in a pink wheelchair, an Olympic games is guaranteed to get the heart rate going and the memories flowing. But I have been pleasantly surprised to see just how far we’ve come in the five years since I retired in terms of including Paralympic athletes in the Olympics and television coverage. Irans’s flag bearer is a Paralympian too  Zahra Nemati, who lead the predominantly male team into the stadium is not only a wheelchair user but the nation’s second female flag bearer (social media went into overdrive announcing her as the first female but that honour has since been revealed to belong to Irans 1996 flag bearer. The 30-year-old will compete in archery at both the Olympics and Paralympics in Rio, after first believing she had to give up her Olympic dream of representing her country in tae kwon do following a spinal cord injury in her teens. “I had a dream to be in the Olympics as I was doing taekwondo before my accident,” she told the International Paralympic committee. “Now, this dream came true through archery.”…

Ambassador for Govt National Injury Insurance Scheme

Marayke is Proud to have been announced as the QLD Ambassador for the National Injury Insurance sheme (NIIS) by the treasurer Curtis Pitt and Minister for Disabilities  Coralee O’Rourke today outside parliament house in Brisbane.   ” This is possibly the most important role I’ve ever had in my life,   Paralympic medals included,  because  ensuring 100% of Queenslanders involved in serious  vehicle accidents  have access to  the equipment and support they need  will change lives and the course of history for Queenslanders. Did you know only 50% of people involved in a serious motor vehicle accident are covered by compulsory CTP? Thats means if 2 people were sitting in this car only one may be covered!” At  the launch event Marayke spoke from the heart to gathered media and guests using her  own life as an example of how with the right equipment and support,  such as her affordable manual wheelchair and hand controls she was able to compete as a Paralympic swimmer,  graduate with  to university undergraduate degrees,  travel the world  and work as a journalist renovation or speaker and in public relations becoming a taxpayer while at the same time contributing to the community as a volunteer  and by…

Marayke chosen for elite global women’s leadership mentoring program

Marayke is incredible proud to have won one of just 25 positions available globally for retired female athletes to be mentored by business leaders in making a transition to becoming leaders outside the sporting arena. In partnership and support of EY, the WABN Mentoring Program is designed to harness the untapped leadership potential of female athletes. Elite women athletes who have transitioned or are in the process of transitioning from a career in sport are matched with prominent women business leaders from the membership of the International Women’s Forum. Marayke has been matched with the amazing Stephanie Christopher, CEO of the Executive Connection in Australia. 25 Mentees were competitively selected for the 2016 program year and assigned a mentor who is an accomplished and recognized leader in her field. Mentors and mentees agree to connect at least eight times across the course of the program year. These elite athletes were selected based on a proven track record of athletic and academic achievement and their goals to be impactful leaders. The International Women’s Forum and its membership of 6,200+ of the world’s most preeminent women leaders in 34 nations on six continents serves as an unmatched resource of mentors. IWF’s mission…

Sport Hall of Fame induction

Marayke Jonkers was inducted into the Sunshine Coast Sporting Hall of Fame on November 27, 2014 alongside longboard surfer Josh Constable. The Hall of Fame, housed at the University of the Sunshine Coast, contains sporting greats such as Lisa Curry, Clint Robinson, Brendan Burkett and Jeff Hardy. Marayke said she is honoured to be included on the wall alongside some of her childhood heroes. “I distinctly remember being a young girl sitting in my pink wheelchair watching Clint Robinson win gold in Barcelona and knowing I wanted to one day represent Australia. Later on I found out about the Paralympics and gained two new role models in Paralympic swimmers Jeff Hardy and Brendan Burkett, who went on to become my teammates,” she said. “It was one of those ‘pinch myself’ moments to have both Brendan and Jeff there as part of my induction ceremony.” Jonkers’ citation was read out by former National Surf lifesaving champion and swimming coach Cr Jason O’Pray. “We talk about living a full life but I tell you what you’ll struggle to beat this life. Our Marayke is not just a Sunshine Coast superstar and three-time Paralympian, she is a national treasure,” O’Pray said. Jonkers used…

7 News: australia Day Award

RSL supports wheelchair vehicle modifications

Maroochy RSL has kindly donated $11,000 towards having a vehicle modified to carry an electric wheelchair so Marayke can continue her work with the charity she founded to empower athletes with disabilities  Sporting Dreams: The Marayke Jonkers Sporting Dreams fund. The motto is changing lives through sport for athletes with disabilities. RSL Queensland has been a long term supporter of Sporting Dreams, Sponsoring athlete grants at our award ceremonies for many years. Marayke has also enjoyed speaking at the RSL’s Youth development program several times to the nation’s next generation of great young minds.  “I greatly appreciate the warm support of my local RSL to continue my charity work”, she said. “Vehicle modifications have become necessary as I now need to use a 100kg motorised wheelchair after sustaining an overuse injury in my arms, and can no longer just throw it into my old car Sylvia like my former lightweight 8kg wheelchair, This money will help with the lift, securing the wheelchair to the floor to meet safety standards, modifying seatbelts and other safety requirements to be a passenger in my electric wheelchair. My ultimate goal is to eventually drive independently which will require more fundraising.” Tax deductible donations can be…

Media story: Back on the road to success

Australia Day Award 2016

  Marayke has won  the sport and recreation award from the Sunshine Coast Council for her  volunteer work founding and running Sporting Dreams: The Marayke Jonkers Sporting Dreams fund, following her illustrious sporting career “Jonkers was surprised and thrilled by the win, given the calibre of other nominees. “What an honour to receive the award. The pleasure of volunteering in sport really has been all mine- no greater gift than that of giving. What a great day too. Congratulations to all the other winners and nominees. Shemade it out of hospital just in time , even choosing a dress to conceal the bandage still on her arm from the health site of her PICC line. Thank you also to the awards sponsor Sunshine Coast Sports Federation.

Graduation address “be a kangaroo -take no backward steps”

Marayke Jonkers, delivered the 2015 graduation or commencement address at her alma mata University of the Sunshine Coast. Drawing on her experience as a triple medal winning Paralympian and entrepreneur she encouraged students to stand out and be the different, to grow, keep learning and that the greatest joy in life is to use your knowledge to give back and help others she even worked the campuses iconic kangaroo colony into the speech leaving a powerful impact. BIO Marayke,34, is a retired Paralympic medal winning swimmer, paratriathlete and founder of Sporting Dreams, a grants program which helps athletes with disabilities. She lives on the Sunshine Coast, QLD.  

I won the first ever Cosmo fun fearless female Award!

I’ve just returned from the most amazing experience of my life, and almost have to pinch myself to believe that it was real. Not only am I amazed that I have won this award but all the trappings that went with it were like being a movie star for the day, and I feel truly blessed to have been part of this event. To top it all off the prize money will enable me to achieve my dream of creating a foundation to help athletes with disabilities. I want to write down everything that has happened so I don’t forget any of the details. Let me tell you about it The ceremony was held in Sydney, and the four other finalists and I were flown down the day before and Gala afternoon presentation. Most of the details were surprise so we didn’t know what amazing journey was ahead. What awaited us was movie star treatment. Today my movie fantasy became a reality!!!! I was met by a lovely chauffeur holding a sign with my name. After a quick lesson in how to dismantle my wheelchair we headed to my hotel which is on the waterfront in Sydney Harbour! I don’t…