What if the simple act of greeting a mate or congratulating an opposing player on the sporting field had the potential to threaten everything you’ve ever held dear? So it was for Nathan Charles, the only person with cystic fibrosis ever to play a contact sport at an elite level. His whole life has been about taking precautions and diminishing risk.
“I always had the belief that I was, I wouldn’t say destined, but that this is what I was going to do and I wasn’t going to take no for an answer,” he says of his dream of playing professional rugby. “Ever since I could talk I wanted to be a Wallaby. It was never a sense of entitlement. It was just more of a belief that if you want something bad enough you won’t let anything get in your way. The only thing stopping you is yourself.”
You’ve probably heard athletes, entrepreneurs or motivational speakers say something similar in the past. The difference with Charles is that it isn’t a hollow aphorism. In cystic fibrosis he had an obstacle that traditionally shrinks your opportunities in life. Charles wouldn’t let it. “He seems to have defied science and defied logic,” former Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie once said of him.
His story can inspire anyone who wants to achieve something extraordinary.
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