What were you doing when you were nine years old?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
What was your life like when you were small and the world was waiting for you?
When I was nine years old, I was doing a lot of gymnastics and competing at state level. When I grew up, I wanted to be an Olympian.
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Life was overflowing with possibilities, but what was waiting for me was cancer.
I was diagnosed with leukemia when I was nine and needed two and half years of chemotherapy to get into remission. My chance of survival was around 70 per cent. The odds were in my favour.
My family approached my illness with a sort of 'just keep swimming' mentality. We didn’t sit around talking about the possibility that I could die, we all kept moving forward, and it must’ve been a clever approach because I made it through that dark time.
By the age of 12, I was off chemo, in remission and ready to start high school. I had an appreciation of existence that perhaps most other students didn’t.
I’d learnt that life should be lived and life should be full, so I packed mine with all sorts of wonderful adventures.
At school, I got involved in public speaking and debating. Outside of school, I took classes in acrobatics, singing, dancing, acting and fell intensely in love with Shakespeare and the theatre.
I went skydiving in Cairns and swimming with sharks. My life was more than full – it was overflowing and it was marvelous.