Former Novita teen and Para-golfer Aidan Barry was the Guest Speaker for Novita’s 2017 Golf Day. We caught up with Aidan this week to talk about how he got into golf, and what the future holds for him. This is Aidan’s story, as told by him.
Hi, my name is Aidan Barry. I’d like to tell you about my journey with Novita from very early childhood to now.
Novita first became involved with my family when I was three months old. I have complex congenital cardiac failure resulting in four open heart surgeries and four closed heart surgeries. I have had a pacemaker since I was three. I also have posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy which means that white spots grow across the back of my corneas and sunlight burns my corneas requiring me to wear sunglasses whenever I’m outside. It also restricts my field of vision. I have haemochromatosis, which is a blood disorder requiring regular venesections. The impact of all these conditions is that I have chronic pain and high fatigue levels. The impact on my life from the combination of these issues is that the simplest of daily living tasks are complex and often difficult undertake.
I have been playing golf for 11 years. I got into playing golf through Novita’s ConnectABILITY program that put me in touch with a man by the name of Gary Hart. Gary was President of the South Australian Amputee Golf Association, a group for amputee golfers and golfers living with disability in South Australia. Gary phoned my mum and I started playing golf at eight years old. Thanks to Novita listening to me and assisting me with my golfing ambitions (not thinking it’s impossible to play golf without arms – this is a good example of Novita helping young individuals living with disability reach their full potential) I’ve been invited to play in the USA Disabled Open.
Due to my disability, I must use modified clubs. My clubs are extended by adding an extra grip above the regular grip. I also need to use yellow balls to play, due to my eyesight.
My golfing highlight is winning the Gary Hart Memorial Trophy in 2015. Also, being invited to play in the USA Disability Open this September (I’m currently fundraising for this event).
If I could tell my younger self one thing it would be to never give up – my next goal is to play in the 2017 US Amputee Open in Durant, Oklahoma. I also want to do well at University where I’m studying secondary school teaching.