Case study

Pauly Rainbow
Army Veteran,
Northern NSW 

Pauly Rainbow as part of Team Veteran established by Invictus Australia during a parkrun


Originally from the Western Suburbs of Sydney, Pauly never considered himself to be sporty but still had a love for water sports and car racing. He was determined to serve others from a young age, becoming a St John’s Ambulance cadet at just eight years old. A self proclaimed “gypsy,” Pauly worked across the country before beginning his years of service.

Pauly enlisted as an army medic, before being discharged in 1973. After his discharge, he transitioned into a career in nursing, dedicating a further decade to helping others in a different capacity. Since then, he has worked as a case worker, continuing his commitment to supporting others.  

Pauly rainbow poses next to a yellow canoe


Despite his immense passion to give back, Pauly’s personal journey has not always been easy. Challenges have affected him physically, with him sighting issues with his hearing and no longer having use of his legs. Now wheelchair bound, these physical effects have been something that have taken him a long time to come to terms with, affecting his overall health and wellbeing.

Pauly pushed his mental struggles down during this time, resulting in years of social isolation and mental health challenges. He describes his experience as a “life of trauma,” at times, but is still determined to live with optimism.

Pauly Rainbow at a Horse Aid Workshop


After 20 years of social isolation, Pauly reached out to Invictus Australia looking to use sport as a tool to aid him in his recovery journey. It was then that Pauly connected with his local engagement manager Jye, who began to connect Pauly with veterans in his local area.

Through the connection point with Jye, Pauly has found support and camaraderie within his local veteran community. He is now a friendly face as many Invictus Australia’s local events, attending parkrun as part of Team Veteran, participating in a weekly walking group and attending a Horse Aid workshop in the Sutton Forest, NSW.

Pauly Rainbow with Invictus Australia's Team Veteran

Pauly has always believed in the healing nature of water and describes it as his happy place. He canoes regularly and has come along to a Dragon Boating come-and-try day Jye from Invictus Australia facilitated.

Through Jye and Invictus Australia, Pauly was also able to connect with Scuba Gym, an organisation in his local area who provides water therapy to assist in the rehabilitation of people with disabilities. Because of this, Pauly has been able to participate in regular scuba therapy sessions, which eventually led to him being able to walk underwater for the first time since being wheelchair bound.

Jye keeps in touch with Pauly regularly, who is now excited he has finally found a strong community he can connect with through sport. To get active in your local community, click below.

Pauly Rainbow walking under water with Scuba Gym and Invictus Australia

“I am living a life of optimism and contentment. I want to help people, now I have a place.

Organisations like Invictus Australia are extremely helpful for forming social connections, especially when you don’t have any.” 



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