Young au­thor shares in­spi­ra­tional story

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - TORIKA TOKALAU-CHAN­DRA

A 13-year-old Auck­land girl has writ­ten an emotional book about look­ing dif­fer­ent to her peers and liv­ing life with sev­eral lifethreat­en­ing med­i­cal con­di­tions.

Kate Chan­du­lal wants her book A Walk in my Shoes to fos­ter em­pa­thy and un­der­stand­ing for peo­ple who were not like every­one else.

Kate was born with Crouzon syn­drome, a rare ge­netic con­di­tion that cause the bone of the skull and face to fuse.

In 2012 she was di­ag­nosed with scoliosis, a con­di­tion that causes the spine to ab­nor­mally ro­tate and curve side­ways.

Kate also suf­fers from sev­eral other con­di­tions which have left her de­pen­dant on five tubes in her body that help with or­di­nary func­tions like breath­ing and eat­ing.

‘‘I wrote the book be­cause I wanted to spread aware­ness to other peo­ple es­pe­cially to chil­dren about what it’s like be­ing me, and that it’s okay to be slightly cu­ri­ous about scoliosis but not afraid,’’ she said.

‘‘You can make friends with me be­cause I’m just like every­one else on the in­side.’’

In her book, Kate de­scribed feel­ing over­whelmed when peo­ple stared and pointed at her.

‘‘I feel like a spotlight is shin­ing on me and I can’t es­cape its glare.

‘‘But mostly I feel sad, like a grey cloud has blocked out my sun. Of all the things I go through in life, be­ing treated meanly is the worst of all.’’

Kate, who lives in Howick, has spent nearly her whole life at Star­ship Chil­dren’s Hospital.

To date, op­er­a­tions.

Kate’s mum Brid­get, who also has Crouzon syn­drome, said she had al­ways wanted her daugh­ter to feel great about her­self de­spite her med­i­cal chal­lenges.

Growing up with Crouzon Syn­drome in the 60s was hard, she’s had 121 Brid­get said.

‘‘It was a whole dif­fer­ent ball game with chil­dren who looked dif­fer­ent, or be­haved dif­fer­ently.

‘‘The way so­ci­ety dealt with it was to hide it, to not say any­thing, to treat it as if it was some­thing shame­ful so I was very de­ter­mined that Kate was not go­ing to be treated that way.’’

She’s al­ways told Kate re­mem­ber her im­por­tance.

‘‘Kate’s not shy about any­thing - not one bit. I’ve al­ways told her to be proud of who she was, know that she was im­por­tant and that she had ev­ery right to be here like ev­ery­body else.’’ to

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