With sheer determination in her eyes, Hallee McCoombes has the willpower to strive with every step she takes.
Born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, along with several other medical conditions, the chances of Hallee talking let alone walking, were very slim.
But the 9-year-old can’t be held down and she has big dreams to become an Australian Paralympian.
Spina Bifida is a birth defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord don’t form properly – Hallee was born with her spine on the outside of her body.
Hydrocephalus is swelling due to excess fluid on the brain.
Along with spinal surgery Hallee has undergone multiple brain surgeries, and defied both the odds and her doctors' expectations.
Hallee is the youngest Para Athlete to hold Australian records in multiple events, and currently she holds five records.
In what could be described as a miracle, Hallee’s parents were told before she was born that their little girl would never walk.
Now here she is making records.
Starting athletics at six years of age, it didn’t take Hallee long to find her happy place within the sporting world.
Her mum Christine and her twin sister Jada are her biggest supporters, and Hallee says they inspire her to do her best every time she takes to the track.
The trio, along with Hallee’s dad Gavin and younger sister Tia, moved to the Bundaberg Region four years ago, because of the lifestyle it offered.
Living at Elliott Heads, Christine believes it was the sea change that has helped motivate the family to pursue all their athletic dreams, and support not only Hallee but also Jada as they both represent Wide Bay at a state level in athletics.
“We were living in Brisbane and we were delivered some pretty harsh news about Hallee, at that stage she was almost a vegetable,” she said.
“But since we have been up here, she’s only had one or two bad days in a wheelchair.
“It was her twin sister Jada who started doing running, and Hallee thought ‘well if you can do so can I’ and that’s when she started.
“Hallee is in pain after 10 metres of running, but she won’t stop – she doesn’t have feeling from knees down, she has limited feeling from knee to waist, and no feeling in her waist.
“I don’t know how she does it. I asked how she knew she was actually stepping, and she said, ‘it’s weird mum, it’s as if I can feel the vibration coming up my body and that’s how I know I am walking or running.”
On Saturday, the Kalkie State School student participated in Bundaberg’s I Can 2 day, in multiple events, including shotput, discus, long jump and track.
As she crossed the finish line of the 800 metres seamlessly, she said it wasn’t as difficult as the Wide Bay Cross Country, where she ran 2 kilometres earlier in the month and came 1st in the 10 Year Multiclass Girls.
“Hallee is proving all the surgeons wrong, and I think it’s the sport that really helps her,” Christine said.
To follow Hallee McCoombes’ journey as she conquers goals follow her Facebook page.