Community members Mark and Dayna – father and daughter
I grew up in Ferntree Gully in Victoria and am one of 6 children. Growing up I used to get told by my dad to “stop walking on your toes”. I was born with a gait issue (the only one of the kids to have it) and Dad also had HSP but growing up I had no idea what was wrong with him. It was never spoken about and when I eventually asked, mum told me that when dad was younger he landed funny from jumping off a fence and the doctors assumed this had caused his gait issues. I am not sure how mum related that to my walking!
Growing up I played Aussie Rules footy but was never any good at it. I couldn’t kick very far at all so I gave it up. As a young adult I played basketball and continued until I was about 30. I also enjoyed golf then and now still play although it is getting harder with the increasing back pain that I get first thing in the morning that eases during the day.
I am married with three children, one boy Ryley aged 14 and two girls, Dayna 12 and Talarni 9 and so far only one, my daughter Dayna, has HSP. The others are “safe” for now and I pray that they remain that way. It was Dayna’s diagnosis that actually then let me know what I have.
Dayna was the second child born and showed balance and walking issues from a very early age. This didn’t hold her back from doing dancing for five years (age 4 to 9) and then from that she took up basketball at age 10.
Dayna gave away basketball after two years to concentrate on athletics and swimming. The interest in both came about after learning about the ability to get classified as both an athlete (AWD) and a swimmer (SWD) with a disability. This meant that Dayna could now compete with other able bodied people on an even playing field.
Dayna has done exceptionally well at both sports, especially athletics where she currently holds 3 National under 16 records in her classification. Her goal is to represent Australia at the Paralympics one day.