By Paul Anthony
My name is Paul Anthony. I’m 35 years old. I’m a husband, a father and a police officer. I love my life and I love my career but it was a long challenging journey to become the man I am today. Here’s my story.
I was born on February 2nd 1988 in Brooklyn, NY. My mom was just 21 years old when I was born and my father was MIA. I was born with a condition called Bladder Exstrophy which caused my bladder to be outside of my body when I was born. There is no known cause for this birth defect and it happens to about 1 in every 45,000 births. I have been through 21 surgeries and over 100 procedures. There were many ups and downs throughout my life and sometimes I felt like the fight was hopeless, other times I felt like a warrior who was built for battle. While growing up I often felt like I was cursed with a condition that I did not have much control over but as I got older I realized I was also blessed, I had a huge support system. I had a mom that was by my side for every single doctor’s visit and surgery, I had 2 brothers, Dom and Joey that were there for me my entire childhood and never let me use my condition as a crutch to not play a sport or try something challenging, including getting beat up by dom, who happens to be younger than me. i ‘ still convinced he was lucky every time he beat me… all 728 times. I had a large number of cousins who were just as supportive as well as a stepfather who was there for me in his own special way. I also had a handful of aunts, an amazing uncle and a grandmother who all helped raise me. My grandmother was my absolute guardian angel who made me feel like anything was possible. This support system never let me down and they gave me everything I needed to overcome every challenge of growing up with exstrophy, including a bit of tough love which I definitely needed growing up. Considering some of the more severe cases of bladder exstrophy i was on the lesser end of the spectrum in regards to complications and effects on my body.