I was born in Västerås, Sweden during the summer of 1990. Home to a wonderful mother and father, a sister 13 years my senior, my life and upbringing was as most Swedes, shrouded in tradition throughout long warm summers and cold dark winters. As a kid I developed an interest in sport at an early age and had the privilege of trying numerous activities from table tennis to soccer and indoor hockey with the latter sustaining a love for club and ball coordination.
Around the age of 7, I started to notice I was not growing at the same rate as other kids my age, and it was at this time I learned I had Achondroplasia (of short stature). My initial thoughts and feelings centered around; What does this mean? Why me? It was the start of a confusing and difficult period in my life. Soon after came further questions; Why do others look at me the way they do? Why am I considered different? These questions coupled with ongoing unexpected looks from others formed part of my daily life and generated a great deal of anxiety and anguish. The fear and apprehension to partake in everyday life grew and some years later in the midst of these difficult times I felt extremely fortunate to find solace in the game of golf.
It was watching The Open Championship in 2000, that I first became interested in the sport of golf. Sure, Tiger went on to win his first claret jug in dominating fashion, but it was the fascination of watching players get back spin on the ball that attracted me to pursue golf further. With a cut off 7 iron from my Uncle I enrolled in golf school the following summer and immediately experienced a feeling of comfort, a feeling of security and an overwhelming sense of excitement. At the end of my golf school week, I had passed my greencard and obtained my first official handicap of 54. After 2 rounds I was down to 36 and just months later, 15.
Golf immediately became my home away from home. My parents would drop me at the golf course early morning and pick me up late in the evening; a whole day encompassing practice, trick shots and fun with my best friend who started playing the same time as me. It was a welcomed break from the pressures of outside, it was a sanctuary where I could be myself.
Golf offered so much and helped me get through some extremely tough periods. I relished the individualism of the sport, appreciating the test of you against the course. It was your responsibility to hit the ball and things were in your control. The difficulties I faced outside the course were the opposite, they were completely beyond my control, often weighing me down with negative emotion. But on the golf course, people understood the real me and talked to me as a golfer and not as a person of short stature.
The worst was yet to come however, and my reality away from course remained unchanged. At 16 years of age I blacked out in my kitchen, falling to the floor, shaking uncontrollably and waking up in hospital. I did not know where I was or who I was - I was unable to speak, and 10 years of imposed stress had finally caught up with me. An entire decade where I had done nothing but absorbed the distasteful comments and looks, not reacting, living totally unprepared, until my shock collapse.
A tough 1-2 year period ensued. I faced many of the same questions as previously, but at the same time, I witnessed myself from another perspective, saw myself in the 3rd person and how others saw me. I had a feeling of being reborn and possessed a much greater clarity on life that allowed me to live differently. I no longer felt the need to hide when entering a supermarket and had developed a mindset that allowed me to handle things differently.
Golf continued to play its role in my rehabilitation. An environment that nurtured my aspirations, an activity that allowed me to think of something else. A chance to be calm and focus my attention only on the shot ahead. Subsequently I threw everything into golf that I could. This time around, nothing was going to stop me.
Life is full of ups and downs and whilst no individual should be subject to bullying or any types of discrimination, challenges will always present themselves. How one handles these, their response, their mindset, will always be the foundation for one’s success. My experience of breaking down allowed to me to rebuild. A stronger person unfolded, one that has allowed me to continually overcome adversity, allowed me to be creative, think outside the box; enabling me to perform at the highest level.
I enjoy the thrill of competing in events for golfers with a disability and even more so, against able bodied professionals. I hold the power and savour the opportunity to show my strengths; my mental toughness and wicked short game. Who knows, I may even show how to put some of that back spin on the ball.
I commit to everything I do and possess great resolve to overcome adversity through great courage.
I am generous toward others and share a genuine interest in improving their well-being. Gracious in defeat I live life with great humility.
I focus on the positive when chasing my dreams and enjoy the ability to create opportunities when facing difficulties, hoping to inspire others in achieving their own goals.
I aim to cultivate a sense of belonging, empowering individuals in their quest for greater diversity and inclusion.
I am proud to share my values and the essence of what is important to me.
Each value helping define my life and career to date.