Samuel Pierce knew something was amiss growing up.
He lacked hair growth and muscle mass, experienced numerous learning difficulties and at the age of 23 his “sex drive decided to die”.
It was at that point he knew he needed some answers.
Mr Pierce, who is a chef at The Oxford in Timaru, was referred to a specialist in Christchurch, who eventually diagnosed him with Klinefelter syndrome (KS) – a chromosomal condition that affects male physical and cognitive development.
In simple terms, Mr Pierce has an extra X chromosome.
There are varying degrees of symptoms, which often include small testicles, a lack of testosterone, breast tissue and weight gain on the hips and tummy.
Infertility is also a factor for Mr Pierce (24).
“I’m sterile, so that really sucked for me,” he said.
“I was shocked because I really wanted kids.”
Mr Pierce was diagnosed on November 9 last year and has since turned his attention to raising awareness in a positive way.
He has launched a YouTube channel to share his story and inspire anyone – with or without the condition – to enjoy life and achieve anything they set their mind to.
“The messages I get from people are insane, [explaining] how much I’m helping them and helping them with their kids.” – Samuel Pierce
In just three months Mr Pierce has gone from having no answers to creating a profile on social media that has amassed thousands of followers from around the world.
Among them is “another XXY guy”, Ryan Bregante, of the United States, whom Mr Pierce plans to meet when he travels there in September.
Overall, the feedback he had received was very positive.
“The messages I get from people are insane, [explaining] how much I’m helping them and helping them with their kids. People saying ‘thank you, you’ve uplifted me’,” Mr Pierce said.
“Every day I talk to about 10 to 15 new people all over the world.
“Now I know what [KS] is and I can help others with it.”
Mr Pierce said although his diagnosis was a shock, it was the answer he had been searching for.
“It saved my life, I believe. I know that sounds cliche, but it gives me all my answers from my whole life.”
Mr Pierce now gets regular testosterone injections.
Despite the pain that came with it, the results were worth it, he said.
“I’m now seeing body hair, muscle mass, and emotionally and physically I feel better. I’m no longer down in the dumps.”
Mr Pierce, whose social media profiles include a blog called xxykindaguy, welcomes anyone wanting to contact him to do so at email@example.com