I was born with an Ischemic Contracture of the left arm; it was suspected that the umbilical cord obstructed growth of my arm, wrapping around it, which was not seen in scans. I have heavy scarring to my left arm after having an operation at one day old to remove damaged tissue and most of my thumb, repairing with a skin graft taken from my lower back. As my arm healed, my hand curved, forming a kind of ‘hook’. My parents had the choice to amputate my arm but chose to leave it as my choice later on.
I was born in South Africa, but we moved to the UK when I was 4. I grew up in Dorset and despite never really suffering from bullying and having the support of loving parents, friends and family, my arm looking different caused me anxiety over the years which led to me covering or hiding my arm throughout my childhood and teenage years.
I went on to get my BA Journalism Degree from Winchester University. My confidence grew, I met Tom (now my husband), and in 2014 we left the UK to travel the world, which led to lots of adventures. Including swimming with sharks, trekking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal and hiking 2,189 miles.
In March we launched our website ittakesajourney.com and started sharing our past adventures and planning our future ones on @ittakesajourney on Instagram. Our aim was to hike 14 National Trails around the UK, Our Walk for Good, but Covid-19 changed our plans, as it did for many others’, so now we’re converting a van into a tiny home, sharing our van build on YouTube and when it’s ready we’ll set off for hiking adventures in our little home on wheels.
In April I was so happy to get involved with #limblossawarenessmonth. I started posting pictures and videos about my limb difference and just 4 months later, I’ve thrown the sock out and I’m enjoying some freedom from that anxiety. I still have a long way to go, with good and bad days but knowing I am not alone in my difference gives me the reason I needed to put myself out there, with the hope that by me showing my arm it might spread awareness and help others with difference, to know they’re not alone either. We’re all different, and that is OK. My disability has always been the reason to try, not an excuse not to!