At the tender age of 14, Barnaby came up against one his first big life challenges when he was diagnosed with type one Diabetes. This would be terrifying for any teenager, and in Barnaby’s case meant that every day he would need to monitor blood sugar levels, and inject himself with insulin. This is a daunting prospect for any young teenager, but it also laid the foundation for Barnaby to develop a positive mindset and determined attitude that would serve his well in years to come.
At the age of 25, Barnaby was the victim of an alcohol fuelled gang attack in suburban Sydney. This attack led him to have a stroke that wiped out the brain signals controlling the left-hand side of his body. He had to undergo intensive rehabilitation and endured months of therapy.
This moment defined the truly extraordinary human being that Barnaby is, as once again injustice prevailed, and he was left with a decision. Do I play out the rest of my life as a victim of circumstance, or do I take a message of hope, resilience and determination out into the world?
With every challenge Barnaby quite simply chose to give life a crack. In his early twenties (prior to the stroke) Barnaby played AFL for the Sydney Swans and In September 2013, he was inducted into the AFL Sydney Hall of Fame. He has a published autobiography, filmed two documentaries in Africa and climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
He continues to act as an ambassador for Diabetes Australia, The Stroke Foundation and more recently (With his wife Angela being diagnosed with breast cancer) The National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Barnaby asks us all to put life’s challenges in perspective and know that you have the tool kit to deal with any hardship along the way. Whatever is in front of you, hold your head high, and be proud of the person that you are. All we need to do is ‘Give It a crack’.