The Cathedral College teacher assistant Melissa Packer with Year 12 student Aaron Anthony, whose battle with Duchenne muscular dystrophy has inspired so many. Photo: Pauline Crow
The Cathedral College teacher assistant Melissa Packer with Year 12 student Aaron Anthony, whose battle with Duchenne muscular dystrophy has inspired so many. Photo: Pauline Crow

Student’s brave battle inspires school community

AARON Anthony is determined not to be defined by Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

The disease is stealing his strength and mobility but it has not robbed him of a zest for life and an incredible sense of appreciation.

Aaron is preparing to graduate from The Cathedral College and, like most seniors, is looking forward to the next chapter in his story.

But unlike his fellow seniors, the 17 year old is presented with physical challenges that make everyday life without assistance almost impossible.

DMD is a genetic condition characterised by progressive muscle weakness and wasting which results in deterioration of the skeletal, heart and lung muscles.

It occurs primarily in males, affecting about one in 3500 throughout the world.

Treatments can help slow its progression but there is currently no cure for DMD.

Aaron has been embraced by the TCC school community and the support he has received in his six years at the school has left an indelible mark on the plucky teenager.

The Cathedral College's Aaron Anthony (centre) with schoolmates (back row, from left) Tristan Slade, Deon Cameron, Kai Ogden, Jack Williams, Nicholas Osborne, Taine Goodman, Adrian Lucido, Caroline Hannah, Tasmin Powell and (front) Ashleigh Toomey and Eve Robertson. Photo: Pauline Crow
The Cathedral College's Aaron Anthony (centre) with schoolmates (back row, from left) Tristan Slade, Deon Cameron, Kai Ogden, Jack Williams, Nicholas Osborne, Taine Goodman, Adrian Lucido, Caroline Hannah, Tasmin Powell and (front) Ashleigh Toomey and Eve Robertson. Photo: Pauline Crow

Staff and students recently donned red ahead of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Day, which was on Monday (September 7).

Aaron said some of his best moments were those shared with friends, singing in front of the school on TCC Day, and being involved in music.

“Next year I am excited to go to uni but I will never forget my friends and the people who have supported me here at TCC,” he said.

“My advice is to live life in all its fullness, take advantage of opportunities and be very grateful for your family and friends and everything you have.”

TCC’s Learning Support staff work alongside Aaron to help him achieve his daily education goals.

Teacher assistant Melissa Packer said Aaron has offered a new perspective on how to view life.

“I just admire in Aaron how he is willing to get out there and have a go and although he has a disability, he doesn’t live restricted by them. He doesn’t let the world get him down,” she said.

“We’ve been to over 10 camps together, to Yeppoon, Brisbane, Sydney and Perth for music camps and Australian Catholic Youth Festivals.

“I would like to thank Aaron for the privilege of allowing me to care for him over these years and for showing me a different way of living and seeing life.

“It’s been amazing. It is such a blessing.”