News - 13th November 2018

An Extraordinary Human!

Erica East End
Born with Miller Syndrome, a rare genetic condition, Erica and her brother are the only two affected by the syndrome in New Zealand. She credits her mum for her iron-willed disposition and her story of refusing to let her condition get in the way of her hopes and dreams is inspirational.


Erica, parkrun NZ is thrilled to have you as a parkrunner and we’re so thankful you found East End parkrun, you definitely ‘fit’!


When you are born different, life is automatically stacked against you, but, I am no ordinary human, I am extraordinary! I am a 33-year-old adult with the feet size of a small child.


I wear size 12 children’s shoes and all together I only have 3 toes! The doctors told my parents that I would probably never walk. No one knew what life would hold for me, what would my health be like? Would I reach adulthood, no one knew if I would be able to write, drive a car, live alone, or have goals and aspirations (all of which I do!)


Luckily I was born to parents who believed in me, and fostered and encouraged independence. I grew up to be stubborn, wanting to do everything for myself. I first started with learning to get myself up off the ground, using every part of my body including my head, next, I was taught to walk, with an object in each hand to help with balance, I slowly began to walk.


I have spent my whole life making goals for myself, my main goals when I was old enough to make them for myself were, learn to ski, rock climb and to learn to ride a bike, I learned to ride when I was 12, I finally learned to ski at age 31, my last goal I had for life, was to one day live in my own place. 2 years ago I finally found somewhere perfect for me to live. I hope, one day, to find a partner and have a family, but in the mean time I had to find another goal.


I came to a realisation that at 33 years of age, I had already ticked everything off, nothing quite like being ambitious, but when a doctor tells you that there is no telling what your life expectancy could be, you just live your life to the fullest.


When coming to the realisation that I had spent a year at home sitting on my bum, eating sugar, hot chips, potato chips and getting desperately ill, putting on weight to the point I had picked up the phone ready to call my mum and ask to go wheelchair shopping, this is when it hit me, this is not who I am, this is not where I want to be, I am a social go-getter, who has a love for life! Instead of phoning my mum, I got myself a trainer and I got off my bum and started training 2 days a week.


erica at coffee


Once I had got to a good place I started to think about what I could do with my now, newfound energy, what crazy goal could I set for myself, what would last the longest? I finally came up with a great one, let’s run a half marathon!


After a little break, I found the best trainer for me, for my new goals, one who encouraged me to be fully independent at the gym, he believed in me, he started using equipment that I never believed I would ever be able to use, I started doing independent bench presses, I started doing push-ups on my hands instead of my elbows, a whole new world was opening up to me!


I will pause here to mention, I have no ordinary arms either, they are also extraordinary too! Imagine your arms, cut in half, add an elbow halfway, bend them slightly, now freeze like that forever, also, cut off a finger, and cut your other fingers off a few inches at the top, now you have a picture of my hands and arms.


Erica East End 2

As you can probably tell by now, I am fiercely independent, super social and have a strong belief in surrounding the world in love and kindness, do unto others as you would want them to do for you. With coming up with this goal, I have ended up with a massive team of friends, new and old, backing my every move, whether it be a running buddy, running programs, but best of all – I have found parkrun!!


parkrun came into my life 8 weeks ago, along with it has come new friendships and new opportunities, I was struggling with the idea of running without a support runner, anxieties about running alone entered my head, will I be left behind, will I be accepted to this new group, after arriving and hearing the welcome speech, I knew I would never be left behind and that I had no need to worry or be anxious.


parkrun has given me a sense of belonging, I feel like I fit, like a glove that was made especially for me, the people surrounding me are kind and caring and have the most special vibes of acceptance, I have routine and a purpose now to get out of bed every Saturday morning, and the coffee date at the end makes getting a personal best while running, that much sweeter.


Never give up on your hopes and dreams, never give up on life, life is worth living, just ask me!


Erica Perry
33 years old
East End parkrun

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