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Fast four with Barnaby Howarth – Former AFL Player & Stroke Survivor

Barnaby Howarth has never wanted anything more than to be a decent human and give things a crack, but life dealt up some difficult cards. Barnaby grew up with a passion for football, not letting his diabetes diagnosis get in the way of playing professional AFL for the Sydney Swans. When he was 25, Barnaby was involved in an alcohol fuelled fight which lead to him having a stroke. These set backs made Barnaby more determined than ever to live a fulfilling life, such as publishing 2 books, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro and completing the Kokoda Trek. Despite then later losing his wife to a battle with breast cancer, Barnaby has used these adversities as motivation to achieve everything he wanted to in life. 

“Rain falls on the just and the unjust alike, but there comes a time when you just have to get over it and go and play in the puddles.”

Barnaby joined the yLead team on the 2017 Altitude Day roadshow, sharing his message with Year 9’s across Toowoomba, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Melbourne. 


This is what Barnaby shared when we asked him our Fast Four questions!


What are you the most passionate about?
Seeing people realise that everything they need to be the person they want to be is inside them right now.


What action are you taking to influence change in that area?
I’m travelling the world sharing my resilience story, passing on what I’ve learned after facing some major disappointment.

What is the greatest lesson you have learnt on your journey so far?
That everything I’ve ever needed to be the person they want to be was inside me the whole time.

Your top piece of advice for Year 9 students?
You don’t need to do or be anything different to who you are right now to be proud of yourself – give everything you have to what’s in front of you and lift your head up, push your shoulders back and walk down the street proud of who you are.

Being a good, solid human being and treating the people around you with decency & respect is enough to get you ahead in life.

Barnaby’s story is one that inspires all who hear it. He has been faced with more challenges than most would deal with in their lifetime, yet retains an optimistic, resilient attitude. If you want to know more about Barnaby’s story you can check out his website here!


Thanks so much to Barnaby from everyone on the yLead team, as well as all the students and teachers that were able to hear your message!