Dylan Alcott says his disability is the "best thing that ever happened" to him.
"It really is... I love my disability," the 31-year-old said as he accepted the 2022 Australian of the Year award on Tuesday.
But he didn't always feel that way.
"If I'm honest with you, I cannot tell you how much I used to hate myself," he said as he became the first person with a disability to win the award.
"I used to hate having a disability. I hated it so much. I hated being different and, you know, I didn't want to be here anymore. I really didn't."
"And, whenever I turned on the TV or the radio or the newspaper, I never saw anybody like me. And, whenever I did, it was a road safety ad where someone drink drives, has a car accident and what's the next scene? Someone like me in tears because their life was over.
"I thought to myself, 'That's not my life', but I believed that was going to be my life."
The Paralympian, Logie winner, philanthropist, media commentator and advocate now considers himself "the luckiest guy in the country".
"I'm so lucky that I had one of the best families, some of the best friends, my beautiful partner and my whole team who told me that I was worthy."
"I love the person that I am and the life I get to live."