Sportsman, Avid F-1 Fan, and Aspiring Paralympian
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
Just like every other 17-year-old, Gareth enjoys watching the EPL, and is an avid enthusiast of the Formula One Grand Prix. However, there is one thing that sets Gareth apart from other 17-year-olds, and that is that Gareth has muscular dystrophy, a condition which has his muscles slowly weakening over time. As such, Gareth uses a wheelchair to get around, but besides that, Gareth is really just another typical 17-year-old.
A student in Sengkang Secondary School, Gareth uses a motorised wheelchair to get around. The school made accommodations for Gareth’s ease of movement, such as placing all of his classes on the first floor, and ensuring that the lifts are always in proper working condition. Gareth’s friends, Daryl and Bradley are usually seen hanging out with him during recess, playing games on the iPad and keeping him in good company.
Making friends was not easy, however, as not many understood his disability. When Gareth was in primary school, there were classmates, and even adults, who when Gareth was out and about in public would ask him why he was in a wheelchair, because he did not look like he needed to be in one.
At times, he has to manage playful classmates who would attempt to hop on the back and take a joy ride on his wheelchair. This is dangerous, and might damage his wheelchair, which will limit his mobility. However, when asked if he ever felt bullied by his classmates, Gareth shared that he did not think they are bullying him, and that they are just being playful.
Having weakened muscles has not slowed this teen down a single bit. Gareth enjoys playing Power Soccer every week at the Muscular Dystrophy Association (Singapore), and has been playing for a year as a striker. He dreams of being a national Boccia player in the future, and hopes to represent Singapore as a future Paralympian.