JUST three years ago, Aaron Cook did not have the confidence to leave the house.
A rare genetic condition affecting many aspects of his health had destroyed his self-esteem.
But the 14-year-old's life has been transformed thanks to his passion for one thing – snooker.
Aaron was diagnosed with DiGeorge syndrome, which can affect the heart and calcium levels in the body, causing immunity problems and affecting the palate making speech difficult.
Aaron's health difficulties knocked his confidence, leaving him unable to leave his Tuffley home without his dad, who suffers from the same condition.
But now the teenager has found respite at the South West Snooker Academy in Quedgeley, where he takes part in disability snooker tournaments.
Dad Robert, who educates Aaron at home, said: "He decided to join the junior members club when it first started and since than he has really come a long way.
"We come to the academy everyday and Aaron now talks to people confidently and has gained social skills. Before this he would not talk, he would get nervous.
"I am so proud of him."
Taking part in the sport has also helped the youngster with his school work.
Aaron said: "Snooker has not only improved my social skills but has helped me with numeracy and literacy.
"When people look at me they don't realise that I have this condition, I look like anyone else but I have a deep scar on my chest and usually have to take my dad with me everywhere. I used to get nervous in new situations but snooker has made this easier. My dream is to become a professional snooker player when I am older."
Janie Watkins, ambassador at South West Snooker Academy, said: "Aaron is my mate, he really has worked hard to be where he is today."