Dean Clifford

Cotton Wool Man

Dean Clifford was born with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), an incredibly rare and debilitating skin condition with, currently, no cure. The more common term for sufferers is ‘Cotton Wool Kids' as it usually results in an early death but in Dean's case the word ‘survivor' is more apt.

Now 33, Dean continues to baffle medical science as one of the oldest survivors of what should be a fatal genetic skin condition. He wasn't expected to live past the age of five but instead has become an inspirational, valuable and productive member of the community.

Dean has overcome insurmountable odds to turn his life around and is a shining example of the power we all possess in life. Since 2005, Dean has travelled the world sharing his story with groups and organisations as diverse as primary school children and prime ministers.

Now Dean challenges others to dare to dream and believe in themselves, with his own life experience as the motivational tool. This charismatic young man will change your life and the perceptions you may have about what can be achieved and the way you look at and accept people.

His presentation ‘Raising the BAR' is a powerful example of what we are all capable of achieving with a ‘Never Admit Defeat' attitude.

In 2004 Dean became the first National Ambassador of ACE (Australia's Disability Employment Services Peak Body). This is a voluntary role helping promote employment awareness to businesses and communities throughout Australia for people with disabilities.

Dean is also a spokesperson for dEBra, the national not- for profit organisation supporting families and everyone trying to survive with Epidermolysis Bullosa.

An official Ambassador for the Brisbane Broncos Rugby League Football Club, Dean is also the only motivational speaker ever to be individually signed and sponsored by Toyota Australia. Dean and Toyota have an ongoing sponsorship arrangement that has been in place since 2005.

If that is not enough Dean is also a power lifter who regularly trains in his home gym and at the Brisbane Broncos gym where he quietly keeps the Broncos squad honest in their weight training sessions. Dean currently holds the record as one of the strongest (able bodied or disabled) power lifters in the world.

Dean Clifford is a powerful, moving, thought-provoking yet humorous speaker. Audiences will never forget his story and are guaranteed to come away inspired and empowered, having realised what just one person can actually achieve.

Client testimonials

All who were there described your presentation as inspirational.

Australian Public Service Commission

Dean packed the venue and became the talking point of the conference. The national executive was so impressed, Dean has been engaged as the keynote speaker at our next conference.

Association for Competitive Employment

Your presentation was more than motivational and far more than inspirational. You embodied the ultimate goal of human endeavour and your life story took us all to a new dimension. This group of life-hardened police could not stop talking about the positive impact your presentation had on them

Australian Federal Police

On entry, Dean was introduced to the management team who were all a little taken back by his arrival, as I think most were expecting a sports star or the like. Without any hint of being shy or holding back Dean took over from there. While he spoke he maintained such a keen intent audience.


It was the NRL’s privilege to have Dean Clifford as one of the speakers during the Toyota Cup induction camp. We are approached by numerous speakers every year, the majority of which we turn down as we are very selective in this process. However when Dean made himself available, we jumped at the opportunity to have him speak.

NRL Education and Welfare

To walk a mile in Dean’s shoes and maintain the composure and zest for life Dean has is beyond most mere mortals. Yet he shares openly and willingly urging others to dream and to believe in themselves! Dean’s story is powerful, moving and empowering, an audience is taken on the emotional roller coaster that is Dean’s life! Dean sharing his story is life changing and makes one look seriously at life and what we all take for granted.

Shane Webcke

Dean not only delivered an inspiring and motivating talk, he managed to captivate and hold the attention of the entire audience of players, male and female, ranging in age from 14 years to 68 years … Dean’s courage and passion leaves a lasting impression upon your mind and your belief system not just hours or days after meeting him, but for a lifetime.

Northern Territory Polocrosse Association

Dean Clifford was hired to give an inspirational talk at our annual ‘Harley Owners Group Officer’s training’ in Cairns August 2012. Without seeing Dean’s presentation before I wasn’t sure of his structure and was a bit nervous of the outcome. Without doubt I would have to say Dean’s presentation, was one of the best I have ever witnessed. He would admit our crowd was a tough one to conquer. However nearly 200 members in the room where memorized and in awe of a wonderful man that is Dean Clifford. I would highly recommend him to speak at any conference or event. He is an amazing story teller, has achieved amazing feats in his life and will leave people he meets in amazement. Thanks Dean for coming along to our event, I would have you again at a future event any day.

Harley Davidson Australia

Each year Shepparton Access celebrates International Day of People with Disability, and invites a guest speaker to our Community Celebration Breakfast, This year we were very pleased to have Dean Clifford as our guest. Dean was a very inspirational speaker. His story was powerful, moving, empowering, emotional and one of extremes. He displayed a unique ability to relate to and engage with people from all walks of life. The feedback from Dean's presentation has been extraordinary, Comments have included "Best Speaker ever" "Displayed great insight into life of self and others" "I will never complain about getting up early again" "Not allowing pain to impact on a vibrant life is surreal" "A unique journey overcoming the insurmountable" "Thank you for inspiring me to reach for my dreams" "A proud Australian, proud of his Olympic experience". It is with sincere confidence, I recommend you consider Dean Clifford for your next speaking engagement. You will be motivated by his unique ability to break down many diverse barriers and to reach for the stars.

Shepparton Access

The audience was in awe of his journey. A remarkable & inspiring story with plenty more to still tell in his life. We had to cut the q&a short due to the level of interest in Deans journey

Shepparton Access