Harry Grigson

Hello, my name is Harry Grigson; I am 14 years old, I live in Western Australia and was born with PKU. This is my journey of having PKU and how I have grown up with it and coped with battles here and there.

At the moment I‟m currently in high school in year nine. I love sports such as footy, cricket, and tennis and I support the Dockers. I like to play PS2, table tennis and swimming at the beach and my pool. Going to the WAFL games and watching Swan Districts play is one of my hobbies. At school, I enjoy science and would like to be a doctor or study medicine and find a cure for PKU or for Cancer. I study Japanese at school and am hoping to travel to Japan on a camp next year, if my marks are good enough. I also want to make it as far as I can playing football.

There are four people in my family. My Mum - Susie, Dad - Peter and sister - Molly. My Mum is a primary school teacher. My Dad works in the mines up north and my older sister is currently in year ten. We are a close family and have been on some great holidays. My highlights have been travelling the Gibb River Road, visiting the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Broome, Bali and Uluru.

Ever since I can remember I have always loved taking my PKU supplement. My body craves it and I never miss a Cooler. Most of my meals have stayed the same over the years. I haven‟t been one to try new foods, I‟m just happy to eat the same regular diet I have for many years. During the past few months I have started to experiment with foods and have tried eating different PKU foods and regular foods which I have prepared myself.

I have some great mates and staying at their place is never a drama. I always take food that is easy for me to prepare, such as pasta or tomato soup and bread. I‟ll also eat some food that they have prepared like their vegetable dishes, salad or soup courses. Their families have known me for years and there are never any questions or jibes made towards me, I feel at home.

PKU affects my life in both positive and negative ways. In positive ways, PKU is all about eating healthy foods like lots of salad and vegetables. I am fortunate that PKU can be controlled through food choices as other young people have conditions that can‟t be controlled as easily or the side effects of their condition is much worse than PKU. I receive great support from my Mum and Dad and have had to battle through some tough situations, they make me feel special in a way.

In negative ways, having PKU has made me face and deal with some really tough situations. At school people will walk past me and say „Look it‟s the non- protein kid‟, „Harry, go eat some more Protein‟, „Harry, you must be high on a protein‟ and „You‟re never gonna grow because you‟re so short and you need protein to grow‟. In high school I have been affected by these comments the most, mentally. I would wake up and not want to go to school because I knew I would get teased. I then realised that they are the real losers because really PKU isn‟t stopping me from doing anything. But, it‟s hard to stay positive day-in, day-out. I still have sleep over‟s at mates places and go out for dinner and mostly have hot chips or a salad and all I am missing out on is just meat and wheat really and it isn‟t the end of the world because it‟s not stopping me from anything.

I understand that there is always going to be someone out there better than me and someone out there worse off than me regardless of the PKU. I think it is important to get this message across to PKU kids and families who are struggling with it, we should look for the positives in life. I always focus on being the best I can be at everything I do, but I do find it hard to study and am starting to apply myself to study now.

If I was to serve my friends a PKU meal I would choose to give them my mum‟s famous ratatouille or her delicious pumpkin soup. I would make them my signature dish, which is a chocolate biscuit and cream log served with strawberries. This is made by sandwiching chocolate biscuits together with a sweetened cream and then covering the whole log in cream. It is best made the day before serving and add strawberries just before serving.

Harry Grigson