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PARALYMPIAN AMANDA REID ON LIVING FEARLESSLY
The Paralympian, Coeliac Australia ambassador and proud Indigenous woman shares how Coeliac Disease helped her stand up for herself.
By Katie Brown
The 26-year-old Coeliac Australia ambassador from Sydney, is a world champion in cycling and snowboarding. Here she shares how her diagnosis with coeliac disease and learning to manage her health with a gluten-free lifestyle contributed to her sense of empowerment. Her motto: dream it, believe it, you can be it.
ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING
“My next goal is back-to-back Olympic gold. I won gold at the Tokyo Olympics in the C1-3 500m Time Trial and got the world record. I want to do the same again in Paris 2024. And get a gold medal in snowboarding at the 2026 Winter Paralympics in Italy.
There is a jigsaw puzzle that gets any athlete to where they are. All the pieces have to fall into the right place for you to succeed. And I’m very lucky with the support I’ve had from my family (mum Kate, sister Anna and granny Christine) and AusCycling.
I am the most fearless person I know. My family are always saying to me, “I wouldn’t get on a bike with no brakes, or a snowboard that goes down a winding hill so fast.” But for me it’s fun!
LEARNING TO LISTEN TO HER BODY
My bag is always full of food. I take a lot of food with me when I travel. I have my gluten-free snacks, gluten-free Weet-Bix and gluten-free Vegemite. The go-to meal when travelling overseas is gluten-free pasta but I don’t even eat pasta. I feel heavy on pasta. Give me rice, meat and vegetables.
You learn to live with what you’ve got. I have to listen to my body a lot more than the average person due to my cerebral palsy. I make sure I keep my body well-tuned and I attend physio two to three times a week. As an athlete with coeliac disease, you have to learn that if you eat gluten it will make you sick and affect your performance, so you have to stick up for yourself. I have to be aware of everything I eat.
ON BEING A ROLE MODEL
I’d like to be a role model for Indigenous kids, and adults who acquire disabilities in later life, to show them anything is possible. Coeliac disease has helped me stand up for myself.
I like to prove people wrong. I haven’t had the easiest of roads to get to where I want to be. But I’m always willing to climb that mountain. And keep climbing. And then climb the next one.”
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