SIOBHAN Penney lives with a disability — but that has not stopped her from living an independent lifestyle.
Ms Penny, from Liverpool, has spina bifida, a spinal cord birth defect that damaged her spine and the nervous tissue of her spinal cord.
As a result of her condition, she has a cerebral shunt in her brain to help drain fluid.
She is in pain as she battles osteoarthritis, scoliosis and tendonitis, and she uses a wheelchair.
But that hasn't stopped her.
Ms Penny, who is self-sufficient and lives by herself, is studying at TAFE and has completed 18 courses.
She also finds time to volunteer at Northcott Disability Services at Casula and at Anglicare.
"I do this because I don't have a job and it helps keep my mind active," she said.
Ms Penny is speaking about her experiences living with her condition for Spina Bifida Awareness Week, which runs until this Saturday.
"If people in the public see us struggling or anyone with a disability, try to help them," she said. "I would like it if people could ask questions rather than staring or making fun of me.
"It's very intimidating.
"I'd like people to be more educated on how to help and treat people with a disability.
"I find that if you have any type of disability, we are all put into one huge bowl.
"But we are individuals and there are hundreds of different types of disabilities."
Ms Penny will also take part in next week's annual Walk With Me event in Parramatta, to raise funds for Northcott's respite services.