I was born with cerebral palsy. My parents have always encouraged me to do anything and everything I want. I try to never let my disability stop me doing anything I want to do. I’ve been abseiling, rock climbing and to the Adelaide to Melbourne bike race with the Girl Guides. I wouldn’t tell Mum the types of things I got into until after the event so she didn’t panic.
When I was 16 my Mum wanted me to be able to experience standing and walking so I started intensive physio. At the beginning I couldn’t even sit on the edge of a bed by myself but after two years I was ready to go to Queensland and get fitted for a special walking system called Walkabout.
My aim, after learning how to use Walkabout was to go to my year twelve formal so I would be able to stand and have photos with my friends. It was really funny to see the looks on their faces because I never told them I was able to stand. Still, to this day I cannot use it independently because I don’t have enough balance and muscle control although I do still use it for physio and for special occasions.
I have travelled to many places in the world with my family. The best trip I’ve had so far is when I went to Europe and England with Mum and a friend who was caring for me at that time. I now live independently with a friend and get assistance from support workers four times a day. I still have the full support of my family although I no longer live at home. Moving out of home was probably one of the best things I have done. I have been doing a counselling course part-time for the past three years. I already have my Certificate IV and now I am continuing with my Diploma. At one stage I didn’t think I would be able to complete the Certificate. However, when I received my Certificate two years ago and I was standing up there with one of my best friends who also completed the Certificate I thought to myself “If I can do this, I can go further”.
One of the best times I have had up to this stage was when I got my dog Benny. He has helped me through the good times, bad times, boring times and exciting times. He can be quite a challenge sometimes, but most of the time he supports me in a way that only people with pets can imagine. When things change in my life he is often the first to know. Mind you, he has had a good teacher. My previous dog Aaron made me realise what owning a dog was all about. So now Benny is joining me on my current journey.