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Finding Reasons to Be Grateful to My Scimitar Syndrome

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The opportunities are endless with my chronic illness.

My not-so-average body is actually my greatest gift. Think about that – someone’s imperfections can somehow help them in life and make them appreciate things that little bit more. The strength I have, some of the friendships I have made and my passion have all come from this wonderful opportunity I have been given: to look at life from a different perspective and teach others about what I can see through the eyes of my illness.

three friends in matching maroon shirts smiling backstage during a film shoot
Katy shooting her film with friends

Instead of sitting down feeling sorry for myself and dwelling on my chronic illness (Scimitar syndrome – a rare congenital heart defect), I have really pushed my limits and stretched myself so I can get as much out of life as possible. I have fundraised for a hospital’s charity, I have made a film with the charity Fixers to show that illness should not stop you from achieving and I have been part of a couple of campaigns. So thank you, Scimitar syndrome, because without you, I would not think of doing this. I would not be aware of how much funding hospitals need to get the best equipment to treat their patients. I might not have been aware of how young people need support when transitioning from pediatric to adult hospital services and I might not have known how much people can take life for granted.

I don’t want people feel sorry for me. I want people to allow me to tell my story – to educate and teach them about the side of illness they don’t know about. How illness should not mean you cannot be part of society and how illness does not define who you are, because if you want to achieve and do things you enjoy, stay determined, grab every opportunity and you’ll go far.

So thank you, Scimitar syndrome, because I cannot wait to see what happens next in my journey. You have made me passionate about helping others and spreading my positive message.

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Originally published: November 28, 2016
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