Growing up with haemophilia
Mon 18 Oct 2021
Dale has haemophilia A, but that hasn’t stopped him trying anything and everything, from attempting rugby to playing basketball at a state level. Dale also goes on to tell us a bit about the different careers he’s had over the years. Now an electrician, he’s loving it and says it’s his dream job.
Dale shares his advice to others with a bleeding disorder, and parents of children with a bleeding disorder:
"There’s no reason why young people with bleeding disorders can’t live a normal and fulfilling life, like everyone else."
Read the Video Transcript
Hey everyone, my name's Dale. I'm nearly 33 years old. I live in Western Australia and I have severe haemophilia A, which I am treating with a non factor therapy on a prophylactic basis.
My approach to my haemophilia from the age where I kind of understood what was involved with it and how it affects me was basically to never let it stop me doing anything.
There was no history of bleeding disorders in my family, so as you can expect, there was a bit of worry and apprehension about it in the earlier days, but as I got older everyone basically came to accept it.
Approaching haemophilia as a child
My family never stopped me from doing things that I probably shouldn't have done, but I wanted to give everything a go and they wanted me to learn from my mistakes and discover my own limits.
I was very lucky that my parents had that kind of mentality about it. That was my upbringing.
The first sport I actually wanted to play was rugby league (laughs). My family is very heavily rugby league orientated, which is weird being from WA - everyone asks "are you from the East states?" and I reply, "Na, born and bred in WA." So I told my parents I wanted to play, and they said, okay, we'll take you down for the tryouts. I went down, did a bit of tackling with the bag and stuff like that. And at the end of it decided it wasn't for me. I was landing pretty heavily on the floor, so I decided to give up my rugby league dreams pretty early on.
But I'm glad I had the opportunity to try. It was a choice that I was able to make for myself.
I played basketball at a state level, which was a lot. The games were high intensity. It was pretty full on. The guys I was playing against were really good, really athletic, and I did struggle to keep up a bit with how my ankles were. I'd come away from a lot of games with twisted ankles and jarred fingers. It was probably a risk, but it was a risk that I knew I was taking. I wouldn't say I regret it now, but my ankles are definitely feeling it.
Balancing a career and a bleeding disorder
My first job was building boat canopies and biminis. I've also built camper vans, all types of work like that. I have done labouring. My most notorious role was probably when I was a glazier. I did that for a very long time. Every time I told people about it, they were just gobsmacked at how someone with a bleeding disorder can work with glass so much. But I enjoyed it - I was good at it, so that's why I kept on with it.
I'm an electrician now. It's been my dream job since I left school. I got a bit lazy and veered away from it, but I finally come back to it and I'm very happy I did, because it's a good job and it pays well.
Does your haemophilia impact your work?
With my non factor therapy I'm on now my health and my joints have felt better than ever. I haven't had an issue with working 12 hour days, being on my feet all day, doing strenuous work and things like that. My body has felt better than ever. I probably feel a little bit fitter and healthier than some of the guys that I work with on site, which I'm pretty grateful for.
What advice would you like to give?
The best advice I could give someone with a bleeding disorder is:
Don't let your condition limit your choices.Try something at least once. If it doesn't work out, then at least you can say you tried. You only live once and you'd rather feel fulfilled in your life than regret something for not giving it a go.
To parents of children with a bleeding disorder, my advice is the age old saying that gets thrown around all the time, "don't wrap your kids in cotton wool". Don't let anyone else do it to them either.
Children need to thrive and try things in their lives. My parents knew rugby wasn't a good idea, but they allowed me to try it and I worked out for myself that it wasn't a good idea. They supported me, and that's what was important to me.