Juliana Sweeney-Baird

Juliana Sweeney-Baird

Age: 18
Location: Glasgow

My name My name is Juliana, I’m 18 years old and I am currently a university student at the University of Glasgow where I am studying social and public policy. I am a proud advocate of my rare, genetic condition Bardet-Biedl Syndrome Type 1. 

The condition has not stopped me from pursuing my passion of being a competitive figure skater through the charity Inclusive Skating which I am currently ranked world number 1 in Junior Ladies. This is a charity which allows all skaters with additional needs such as myself to take part in figure skating.

Through the charity, which I have been a part of for many years, I have travelled across the world for competitions over the years and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities that figure skating has provided me.

In 2019, I was in a BBC documentary that went viral with over 2 million views! This documentary was about the condition I have and how skating has been an amazing sport for me; not only to take part in but it has also helped to lessen the mental health impact of my condition for me since I’m able to do something that any able-bodied person can do.

This documentary was very important to me as it further helped to make more people aware of my genetic condition. Rare genetic conditions are not often talked about, even though 1 in 25 children have a genetic disorder. Although, they are rare on their own, together they make up a huge proportion of children with medical conditions.

This documentary gave hope to other families who have the same condition as me as it allowed them to see that the future can be bright despite the difficulties the condition brings with it.

I was a finalist in the 2020 Glasgow Times Scotswoman of the Year Awards and was nominated for the Young Hero Award which was an honour to be recognised due to my achievements despite my condition, amongst so many other amazing young people.