I was born with multiple deformities caused by a rare condition called “Amniotic Bands”, which are bands that attach themselves to the limbs of a growing foetus, constricting normal growth.
The limbs that are affected are my leg, foot, and hand on one side of my body, where I have had fingers and toes amputated, a small foot, and a shorter leg. I also had a severe club foot and a turned eye.
I had my first corrective surgery when I was only six weeks old and underwent a total of twenty operations by the time I was twelve. I didn’t manage to walk until I was sixteen months.
With the help of my parents’ massage, physiotherapy, and determination, I can now do anything I apply myself to. I have lived as an extraordinarily strong, independent, and determined woman.
Throughout my childhood, I endured a lot of teasing, name calling, and bullying from school colleagues, even teachers. My parents helped me deal with all obstacles and always encouraged me to live a normal life, just like my two brothers.
My time at primary school was constantly punctuated with surgeries, doctors’ visits, and getting around in plaster.
Mum and dad always instilled in me that I could do, and be, anything I wanted. If there was any challenge or task that was difficult, we always adapted so that I could continue to achieve.
As I became more abled, and achieved more and more, my high school life saw less bullying and more respect, and by the time I started work, all the negatives seemed non-existent.
I have managed to hold down several important jobs, including at government agencies and the public service for over thirty years. I also ran my own childcare business for eight years. Against medical advice, I even gave birth to a healthy baby boy!
I have climbed Uluru and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and I have travelled the world. I am proof that you can do anything … and with determination, you can overcome all obstacles that life puts in your path.