Karl’s Story

I was born on May 13, 1976, in Goulburn NSW. I was way too big for Mum and this meant I was stuck without oxygen for a period of time. Because of this, my brain was damaged but no one knew how bad.

Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (CP) meant that life was going to be pretty tough for all involved. CP took away my balance and gross motor skills, it also made speech harder so I would slur my words and my handwriting was almost illegible due to my hand tremors.

Today I cannot carry a cup of coffee too far as I will shake basically half out of the cup (but can carry schooners without losing a drop…..go figure?). Through the perseverance of my parents, I was taught to walk and even sent to a normal school, Goulburn West Primary (the alternative was a School for “special” kids). When I ran, my legs went out to the side and I had limited balance so was a pushover in the playground.

Of course, back then anything out of the ordinary was bullied and picked on (especially in a small town like Goulburn) – but I ended up working my way through the public school system. All the way through school I was the shortest kid in height and smallest in stature. An interesting side note is that we had frequent annual visits to “The Spastic Centre” in Mosman – now called the Cerebral Palsy Alliance all the way through school life. My memory of those visits were early morning starts, the long corridors in the centre, plus Mum or Dad looking through a window at me while I was tested.

After leaving school I worked in a few different places around Goulburn, still working out my life, working in hotels but not really having an idea of what to do next. When I was 25 I took a personal training course. It seemed like a great idea as training was my passion and I had started training friends and work colleagues. At that time, it was face to face, but still a very short course. The big difference was you had to take an exam, unlike today.

I moved to Sydney and was offered a few roles as a trainer but I didn’t end up taking any, preferring to stay in the hospitality industry – an industry which I stayed in for years. My reasoning for not pursuing a trainers role is that I thought it would take the enjoyment out of my own training. Before I turned 30 I decided that working in Hotels wasn’t the thing for me, so I studied – first at college and then later University – 7 years of night time college/uni and studying on a weekend. I met Sal in 2013 – this was a massive year for us. We found out we were pregnant and also got engaged. In October, Sal had a stroke that turned our lives upside down. After months in hospital, Sal came home and in Jan 2014 Poppy came into our lives.

Newcastle was always where we wanted to live so we moved here in 2015. Firstly to Cooks Hill, but wanting more space – we moved. We are in Mayfield with a vegetable garden, Chelsea the cat, Millie the dog and 4 chickens. In 2019 I had a little idea that has become Groundwork Fitness and the start of our new venture.

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