Sally’s inspiring journey with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Seventeen-year-old Sally was born with congenital hip dysplasia. At just six months old, she began her imminent journey facing significant orthopaedic operations. Three years ago, Sally was further diagnosed with a severe form of hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome – a condition affecting the skin, joints and blood vessels.

For Sally and her mum Anna, the relief was instant as there was finally a reason for Sally’s pain, her joint dislocations and her sluggish healing. Instead of looking for magic, they could finally concentrate on reality. Today she relies on a wheelchair, and for Sally, this is freedom as she is now independent in many facets of her life.

As Sally’s mobility decreased, she struggled to find an appropriate outlet for her sports. Energetic and competitive in nature, Sally soon found wheelchair tennis as part of her inpatient rehabilitation at the RCH and has excelled ever since.

“Through enormous hard work and support, Sally is currently the fourth ranked teenager in the world, the seventy-sixth ranked woman in the world, and the top ranked woman in Australia. She was selected to represent Australia at the Arafura games in Darwin in 2019, winning both a gold and silver medal. She has also been selected for the World Team Cup junior team for the last two years, despite travel restrictions prohibiting her to travel to those tournaments. Sally’s aim is to spend more time on her tennis to see how far she can take it. While it will demand considerable dedication and time, Sally is more than determined to try”, says Anna.

Sally is driven and ambitious, and she continues to kick goals not only in the sporting field, but in the academic space too.

“Through her own determination to achieve, together with the support of the RCH and her school, Sally has already been offered a position to study Law/Arts next year. She is also a very accomplished bassoonist, undertaking a performance subject for VCE.”

Playing the bassoon and tennis brings Sally relief from her constant medical issues. They provide an element of joy and escape, and she willingly and competently takes on mentoring roles both at school and tennis.

“Sally is such a strong advocate for herself and happily stands up to the discrimination she has encountered with her disability. We have been so appreciative of everything the RCH and the rehabilitation team have helped us with in the effort to help improve Sally’s daily life.”

4 comments for “Sally’s inspiring journey with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome”

  1. Shelley Jepsen

    You are an inspiration and are showing others what can be achieved, no matter what is thrown at you. It’s really important to have role models like yourself so others can see what is possible.

  2. Jordan

    You’re an amazing friend and a very accomplished athlete, I look forward to one day seeing you on the television whether it’s for tennis, bassoon or school!

  3. Ally

    You’re insane Sal we love ya! Xxx

  4. Kayden

    Thanks for sharing your story Sally. You have re-sparked my determination to prove my doctors wrong and get back into sport. I also have EDS and I had to stop doing sport a few years ago and something has been missing since then. I had been looking into wheelchair sports but never really put any proper thought into it. It is definitely going to be something that I pursue!

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