Since I was young, I’ve strived to engage in as many opportunities given to me as I can, not letting my diet get in the way.
From 2011-2014 I trained as part of the AFL Sydney Swans Academy and represented my school and local club in AFL, which I have continued into my senior club. I traveled to the UK and Ireland in 2013 with my school’s Pipes and Drums band, seeing me bounce from city to city playing at different events and looking after my diet as an independent 15-year-old. In my final year of school, I was appointed the Senior Cadet Under Officer in my army cadet unit, seeing me command 960 cadets in weekly training and leading them on an annual 8-day camp, whilst living in the field, cooking my own meals and maintaining energy levels with pre-prepared ration packs.
While it took some advanced planning to ensure my mum wasn’t too stressed about me leaving the nest on my own, I took a gap year where I was employed by a school in Edinburgh, Scotland. This opportunity allowed me to live independently abroad and provided me with many opportunities to travel around Europe with my friends.
Most importantly (as parents reading this will agree with), my academic ventures have been successful thus far and have ranged from graduating from high school after my HSC with results
I was very pleased with, completing a Diploma of Photography at Billy Blue College of Design in 2019 and now progressing through my second year of a Bachelor of Arts and Education (Secondary) with a major in English at Macquarie University.
While PKU is definitely an interesting topic of conversation when first meeting someone new, the most common response I get is “How are you so normal?” I think this is both a humorous but interesting response as, on paper, PKU is this daunting limitation, but when it comes to PKU in practice, living the way I do in striving to do the things I love without PKU getting in the way, has allowed me to live a life that doesn’t stray from ‘normal,’ if normal even exists!
The purpose of all this information isn’t to flaunt my achievements, far from it. It’s to inform those of you who might have been caught unawares by PKU and, like my parents did initially, are panicking a little bit, that PKU is only a limitation if you let it be one. Life is much more than what you eat and while I don’t really take much interest in commercial cooking shows, I have embraced life as a “Phenylketonuriac” and will never let it stop me from achieving my ambitions.