Growing up in a “luxurious house” in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs, during his time at school George was active, studious and strived to be a lawyer.
“I was in the choir, chess team, played football, cricket and did a lot of running,” he said.
“I was a hard studier and actually came top in my class in Latin and Divinity – my dad was crying he was so happy.
“He wanted me to be a lawyer, but I just didn’t get the marks in the end – I tried hard anyway.”
After graduating high school, George pursued an arts degree for a little while.
But eventually, with money he saved from part-time jobs, he bought his own tray-top truck and started working as a courier.
“I had saved $15,000 and bought a truck – it was only two years old and had done 20,000 kilometres,” he said.
“I delivered everything from mail, to boxes and pallets – it was a good job and paid decent.”
After settling into his career, it was in his 30s that George suddenly collapsed on the street.
He woke up in a hospital bed surrounded by medical staff.
George’s diagnosis turned his life on its head.
He found himself in and out of the hospital all the time – getting more and more tests as his feet started deteriorating. It eventually meant having to have his leg amputated.
“I ended up losing my leg because of Gangrene,” he said.
“It’s strange because I felt like something was wrong because I never had any energy and spent most of my day inside the house and I couldn’t work out why.”
At the time of diagnosis, George continued to enjoy a lavish diet. He said diabetes wasn’t widely spoken about and he was unaware of the damage he was doing to his body.
George doesn’t want others to make the same mistake.
“There’s wasn’t much education around diabetes,” he said.
“I didn’t listen when the doctor said ‘don’t drink coke, don’t eat cake’ – I was still eating cheesecake because I love it, I was drinking full-strength coke. I knew I was in trouble, but I couldn’t stop it.”
For a number of years now, George has enjoyed life in AnglicareSA’s supported disability accommodation.
In 2020 he moved into a brand-new smart tech home in Adelaide’s north. The properties are designed to help people live independently as possible while having access to face-to-face care as they require it.
Whether it’s dimming the lights, regulating room temperatures or checking who’s knocking at the door, it’s all possible with the touch of a button.
“Thanks to Paul and Rob [AnglicareSA staff] – they take me out three times a week. I go shopping, once a week. The other day I went saw a movie. Today for example we’re going to a barbecue,” he said.
While George is still supported to live his best life, he encourages those experiencing health issues to reach out for help straight away.
“Don’t give up – there’s always hope,” he said.
“Make the most of every day. Just remember you’re alive and keep on fighting.”
AnglicareSA is a registered NDIS provider. Learn about our wide range of supported disability accommodation.