On meeting 27-year-old Andrew Bannister, you feel a palpable shift in your perspective on the world; suddenly everything seems possible.
Born with severe club feet and three brain malformations – Periventricular Nodular Heterotopia (PNH), Polymicrogyria (PMG) and Cerebellar Hypoplasia (CH) – Andrew didn’t walk until he was over three years old and didn’t speak until he was six.
Little did his parents know, their son would go on to become a para-athlete champion!
Finally receiving his rare diagnosis at 17, after years of uncertainty for him and his family, Andrew has amazed medical specialists at every turn. He is one of fewer than 20 people in the world who are diagnosed with PNH, PMG and CH, and is unique amongst them in that he is the only one who can walk, let alone run!
Andrew started taking part in community running events with his dad over a decade ago, and together they have taken part in every HBF Run for a Reason since its inception in 2009. Andrew’s fused ankles don’t seem to faze him – he breezily states, “oh they don’t hurt too much” – and pledges to take part in every HBF Run to come!
Beyond the running track, Andrew is also a passionate cyclist with winning titles in multiple Australian T2 para-cycling championships.
Genuinely humble, Andrew thanks his family for where he is today. It’s clear that his parents’ down-to-earth nature and belief that “para-people can achieve amazing things” has played no small part in Andrew’s success.
Living with a “mind over matter” motto has helped Andrew to leap over every hurdle with inspiring determination and the unfiltered joy that defines him.
Give Andrew a wave if you see him on the 12km course this year! If you’re lucky enough to catch him at the finish-zone, stop for a chat – we promise you’ll walk away with a smile on your face.
Have you participated in all nine HBF Run events too? Check out our list of Run Heroes and, if your name isn’t there, get in touch and we’ll check our records!