My life would be hugely different had it not been for Professor George Youngson.
Instead of spending my life with a colostomy bag, taking medication and learning to control my condition, I am able to live completely normally.
This is 100% down to him.
I follow quite a few people on TikTok who have had the same or a similar condition to me and they are on medication and have colostomy bags.
So I realise how lucky I am and how different my life could have been.
Being diagnosed with a rare condition
I was born at Perth Royal Infirmary on May 19, 1995 and soon after, I was diagnosed with an extremely rare colorectal condition.
From speaking to my mum, who was only 17 at the time, her first reaction after I was born was fear because I was taken away from her for a little while.
She didn’t get to see me.
I think it was a good few hours before doctors came back and told her anything.
I ended up spending six weeks in The Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.
During this time I had an operation to fit a colostomy bag.
As my mum was moving to Aberdeen, when I was just weeks old, I was transferred to the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital.
And the Archie Foundation paid for accommodation and covered the travel costs.
At the hospital I was operated on by paediatric surgeon Professor George Youngson, who has now retired.
[Professor Youngson is now emeritus professor of paediatric surgery, University of Aberdeen]
He is one of the founders of The Archie Foundation and is a patron of the charity.
The operations I had included anal reconstruction surgery, reversing the colostomy and repairs to weakened nerve endings, which had caused incontinence.
I remember some things about the hospital like being in a ward and being given medication.
But I don’t remember much else.
I do recall having a Winnie the Pooh teddy bear at the time and I still have him!
At one point it was thought I would have to live with the condition for the rest of my life.
And I thought coping mechanisms would need to be put in place as I got older.
Being on medication for life
I went on to have check-ups at the hospital until I was about 12.
My mum was told I would be on medication for life.
But I now live my life completely normally, with no effects at all.
I had my final operation in London when I was 16.
And I was able to reduce the medication I was taking when I was 18 before stopping it completely.
As my mum received such amazing support from Archie, I always knew I wanted to give back to the charity.
My mum ended up moving to Kirkmichael, near Blairgowrie, to be closer to family while I was still in hospital in Aberdeen.
So it was such a huge thing for her and my gran to have accommodation and travel costs covered by the charity while I was having treatment over the years.
Helping families is still at the heart of The Archie Foundation today.
Thanking Professor Youngson for his care
When I was around 23 or 24 I emailed Professor Youngson to thank him.
I think at that time I had seen something about The Archie Foundation and I thought it would be good to get in touch with him to let him know how I was doing.
He was really happy to hear from me and thanked me for getting in touch.
Working for The Archie Foundation
I had always wanted to work for The Archie Foundation because I wanted a way to pay him back while also doing a good thing for others.
I volunteered for the charity for two or three years and then the fundraiser job came up.
But I wasn’t ready at the time so didn’t apply.
I then went to the University of Abertay to study my degree in business and events and got a bit more experience in events.
So when the fundraiser job came up again last year, I decided to just go for it and see what happened.
I was delighted to get the job.
I am based at Tayside Children’s Hospital in Ninewells, Dundee and I am responsible for raising funds to support Archie across Dundee, Angus and Perth.
And it was just coming up to my first year anniversary when I had the chance to meet Professor Youngson.
We just sat and chatted for a while.
We were talking about Hong Kong because I am hoping to go on holiday there either later this year or next year.
He told me about his travels there and what to look for, things like that.
But it was really nice to be able to thank him in person.
I am so proud to work for The Archie Foundation.