Hi, I am Liam and I am 20 years old and I have PKU, I live in St. Helens which is just outside Liverpool. I am currently at Liverpool John Moore’s University studying a BA Honours in Policing. You probably already guessed what kind of career I want!
I have never let PKU get in the way of my aims, despite some tough times in the last twenty years, I have always stuck by it and pushed my potential forward. Though I wasn’t particularly good at maths, I attended college studying a BTEC course in Uniformed Public Services at Sixth Form College and got myself onto the Policing degree despite some health issues which made it difficult. I always said to myself “Keep going, it will get better and it is all worth something” and it came true when I received my confirmation E-mail for starting University on the road towards my dream career as a Police Constable.
On top of that I was also a Police Cadet for a year with Merseyside Police, unlike other forces who also have junior cadets for younger individuals, Merseyside Police only recruit about 80-90 cadets annually for their cohort of cadets and they are only in the age range of 17-18. It was a privilege to be a part of this programme and further proved the type of role I wanted to pursue as a career. I started in April of 2017 and by March of 2018 I had finished the course and it went so quick! I passed out from the cohort receiving two awards: My award for completion of the cadet programme which was no easy feat, especially while managing PKU, and Community cadet of the year for my outstanding contribution to the communities of Merseyside. I was so proud…So much so I put an application in for promotion for Cadet Leader, in that same month I received an E-mail confirming my promotion. I started once again with a new cohort in April of 2018, 90 fresh faced cadets and me. I was so proud to have gotten so far in my voluntary career.
In June of 2018 I was invited to an awards evening and formally thanked for my contribution to the new cadets, helping them settle in and utilising ice-breaker techniques to make them feel comfortable in their new role. After leading the cadets for around 8 months and despite a medical scare, I was still awarded at the final ceremony for my commitment to the cadets and received an award for completion of the role.
These achievements however could not have been possible without the determination I had to assure I was healthy, and that only came by being strict with my PKU. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have my bad days or days where I probably had more PHE than I should have, but I always made sure I stayed on top of my levels as best I could. When you are younger, much like I experienced you see the supplements and diet as a nuisance but as you get older you truly appreciate the continued treatment you receive, if there is one message I want to present to you all though this blog, it is to stay on diet and maintain your supplement intake! Again, no easy task and can often leave you feeling overwhelmed at times, but just make sure to stick to it, for your benefit and future outlook on health, make sure to stick by it. My success at the cadets would not have been possible without maintaining that control over what I ate or at what times I had my supplements.
Some of you will have seen my advocacy work I have just recently started especially on Twitter. I got my local MP involved, Marie Rimmer and she has been fantastic in supporting me. All this is worth it, we need options in the world of PKU. It isn’t good enough making us put up with certain medication that might not work for one individual or may make someone else ill, to simply ‘put up with it’ isn’t going to wash with us anymore, we may be few but we are strong and determined and very resilient. One thing I want you take away from this blog is through all the trials and tribulations we face, we still crack on with it. PKUers are strong, and we are unstoppable as a group! We must work together to get better access to medication such as Kuvan and other treatments and a decade waiting isn’t satisfactory. Help me and other PKUers by signing our petitions and aiding us in our advocacy, we will prevail!
Marie Rimmer MP, Liam Lowe and mum Michelle