MEET SCOTT MARJORIBANKS…..
Scott is 53 years of age and lives near Maitland with his lovely wife, Susan.
Scott is diagnosed with a hereditary condition called Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) (unknown).
SCA is a hereditary, genetic disease with multiple types, each of which could be considered a disease in its own right. It is progressive, degenerative and often fatal. There is no known effective treatment or cure. SCA can affect anyone of any age.
According to Scott, there are 33 known types of SCA, all with varying symptoms. Scott’s SCA is classified as “unknown” because he continues to regularly develop new symptoms that have not been recognized in any other strain of the disease.
Scott was a very active child and teenager. At 5 years of age he was introduced to the beach and playing football. He learned to swim at a young age. He was 8 years old when he learned how to surf and was always at the beach. As a teenager Scott enjoyed Karate and kickboxing and he loved to swim.
At the age of 30, Scott landed his dream job, working in IT, for Canterbury Bankstown Leagues Club.
Unfortunately, this is when Scott also started to notice his first symptoms of the disease.
Scott started to notice that he was dragging his foot as he walked and kept wearing out the soles of his shoes. After visiting with his doctor and being sent for numerous tests and specialist appointments it was discovered that Scott was in the early stages of SCA. A bitter pill to swallow when Scott was informed that he could possibly be in a wheelchair within 10 years.
Scott’s symptoms continued to worsen and he was finding it difficult to continue working at the Club as he had to climb many stairs. The Club allowed Scott to continue working from home.
As the SCA progressed, Scott’s speech and fine motor skills were being affected. He would have fits, similar to those of epilepsy, which increased the rate of degeneration his poor body was already undergoing. As predicted, Scott was bound to a wheelchair within 10 years after being diagnosed with this unrelenting disease. Scott decided he could no longer continue to work productively and so finished his beloved job with the Leagues Club.
Scott and Susan moved from Sydney to their home near Maitland 8 years ago so Scott could enjoy a quieter, somewhat independent lifestyle. After moving to the Hunter area, Scott was introduced to Daniel Buck.
Daniel Buck APA Neurological Physiotherapist along with his team at Neuro Alliance, provide allied health services to people with a neurological condition. As part of Scott’s physiotherapy, Daniel suggested Scott get back into the water to help strengthen and maintain his muscles. It was then that Scott met Ellena Morris. Ellena is an amazing team member of Kurri Kurri Aquatic and Fitness Centre and is an extremely experienced ASCTA Swim Coach who is passionate on assisting People with Disabilities. Ellena is heavily involved with Special Olympics Australia and is the Sports Coordinator for Special Olympics Hunter Valley.
Scott has been training with Ellena regularly for 2 years. He increased his visits to twice a week with Ellena recently and does additional training once per week. He now endeavours to train 5 days a week. Scott says when he first met Ellena, “I could not even float let alone swim - I am so proud of how far I have come”.
Scott will be competing on Sunday 8th July 2018 in the Special Olympics Carnival hosted at the Kurri Kurri Aquatic and Fitness Centre. Scott says “I feel I am too old now to compete in the Special Olympics but I have decided my new goal is to compete in the World Masters Games”
Daniel Buck and Scott’s wife Susan will be cheering Scott on this Sunday as they have never had the opportunity to see Scott swim and to see how much he has progressed.
Scott and Susan would like to thank both Daniel and Ellena for everything they do in assisting Scott and others like him.
We would like to wish Scott and his fellow athletes all the very best of luck this Sunday at the Special Olympics Hunter Valley Carnival and for all their future goals. These talented athletes are truly an inspiration to us all!
Scott is diagnosed with a hereditary condition called Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA). He will be competing on Sunday 8th July 2018 in the Special Olympics carnival hosted at Kurri Kurri Aquatic & Fitness Centre. Read Scott's story.
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