Well, back in April 2011, I met the lovely Co-Editors of said magazine, Srin Madipalli and Martyn Sibley. Both are young, cool, charming, and fearless twenty-something guys who have Spinal Muscular Atrophy. They both use powered wheelchairs, hoists, electric beds and various other disabled paraphernalia, as well as needing personal PAs, but neither allow anything, disability-related or not, get in their way of enjoying life. They’re both travel-crazy adrenaline junkies, only working at their day jobs – Srin as a lawyer, and Martyn a freelance disability consultant – in order to pay for the next adventure! Check out Srin’s scuba-diving trip and Martyn’s plans to volunteer abroad.
Knowing that we all have the same ethos – to portray disability and related issue in a positive and inspiring light - I joined the guys in helping to build this start-up publication.
Disability Horizons promotes a unique and positive 21st Century view of disability. It aims to inform and inspire its readers to believe that everything is possible. No matter what your disability, everyone should feel that they can achieve their dreams, be confident in themselves and enjoy life to the max.
I’m thus very excited to have been asked to be the Content Editor for Disability Horizons, a website that I am passionate about being part of and ensuring that it reaches as many disabled people as possible.
As we as working with Disability Horizons, I also have a full-time job as a journalist, so the Inspire blog will have to be put on the back burner. But, as Disability Horizons is a community-driven website, with a high volume of personal stories from disabled people across the world, we would love to hear from you. Email us at email@example.com, tweet us @DHorizons, or message us on Facebook.
I look forward to seeing you there!
In case you’ve been living under a rock, or simply been avoiding X Factor, I insist that you to listen to the charity single, Wishing on a Star. Recorded for Together for Short Lives, the finalists were joined by One Direction and JLS, to perform a cover of the song.
Together for Short Lives supports children and young adults who are not expected to reach adulthood. Children’s Hospices UK, offering practical care and respite, recently merged with ACT, who deliver information to families and professionals, to create the new charity.
Check out the video for the single on the X Factor website, and buy it from Amazon. Plus, take a look at Together for Short Lives Twitter account for pictures of the X Factor favourites visiting a hospice.
Apologies to anyone who reads this blog, or has happened upon it, for not having updated it recently - since the beginning of September, in fact!
My lack of posting has not been through lack of desire to do so, but because of illness. In September I had two mini strokes, something I have always been at risk of due to a heart condition I was born with, but never experienced before. I thought at the time that I was having a severe migraine, another affliction I suffer from frequently. But after experiencing one symptom not typical of migraines, a ‘ticking’ eye, an MRI scan concluded that I had had two mini strokes.
The main side effect for me was a disturbance in my vision and subsequently my balance. I spent a week in hospital, and a few weeks at my parent’s recuperating, my brain slowly relearning how to function as it had before. Six weeks later, and after a mini heart op related to the strokes, I am thankfully almost completely back to ‘normal’.
This experience has really been distressing at times, but also very humbling. It has shown me the power of the human body; its vulnerability, but also incredible strength and resilience. Not only that, but it has highlighted to me the importance of human spirit, of perseverance and of positivity. I have been scared, and I have cried tears of unfairness, but I have come out the other side stronger, more appreciative of everything, and reminded of how wonderful the people around me are. So my advice, keep your chin up, your friends. family and your own strength will get you through anything.
Boris Johnson and David Cameron, who were there to champion the day, couldn’t resist joining in a few matches! Check out this video I found on Sky News of them taking part in a game of wheelchair tennis.
Tickets for the 2012 Paralympics Games go on sale today (9th September 2011), until 26th September 2011. Visit the official 2012 Paralympics Games website to register.
If you haven’t had a chance to see the BBC Three series Extraordinary Me, then I highly recommend you do so!
Documenting the extraordinary lives of a variety of people, I particularly fell in love with the mini series Small Teen Bigger World, telling the story of Jazz Burkitt, a teenager with restricted growth.
The four episodes follow her journey into adulthood; leaving home to go to college, which meant no longer being at home to care for her mother, who also has restricted growth; finding her dad, whom she had never met; learning to drive and starting to date.
But why do I love these episodes in particular? Well firstly I appreciated how the documentary focused on her life and ‘normal dramas’, not just her disability.
Secondly, Jazz’s attitude is so refreshing. Not only is she an incredibly mature teenager with worldly views on life and disability, but she is also incredibly inspiring. I quote “difference is brilliant, difference is what makes this world.” She’s not afraid to be herself and is confident in who she is. “I’ve never hated myself or hated the way I look. I hate the way people treat me.” Very wise words.
Catch up on Extraordinary Me: Small Teen Bigger World at BBC iPlayer.
After loosing her arm in a shark attack at age 13, Bethany Hamilton, who had been competing since she was eight, thought she would never surf again. But after months of rehabilitation, Bethany got back into the water, and now has a whole host of awards and accolades to her name.
Impressive you say? Well others clearly think so as Hollywood has now made a movie about her life. Soul Surfer, out now, tells the true story of her struggles after the attack, and fight to get back to the top.
Visit Bethany Hamilton‘s website for a whole host of videos.
Words cannot express how much I am in awe of 51-year-old Eddie Kidd. Eddie suffered brain damage after a motorbike accident in 1996, but despite having extreme difficulty walking and talking, he is today set to finish the London Marathon today, nearly two months after he started.
Casting aside his wheelchair, Eddie has been walking for nearly 8 hours a day with the aid of a walking frame, his wife Samantha, and an electronic device on his foot. He’s been covering an incredible mile a day, determined to cross the finish line to raise money for Children with Cancer UK ; “I had a good life and I want children to have the same as me. I want them to have a chance.”
His perseverance and will power are incredible, he is a true inspiration.
Set in Clapham Common, London on 10th September 2011, the event will include live music, a variety of food and drink (some alcoholic I’m sure!), and activities for kids. So it’s an event the whole family can enjoy. Performing are acts like The Saturdays, Taio Cruz, and Chipmunk.
Visit Sainsbury’s Super Saturday festival‘s website to buy tickets (£45 for an adult, minus a booking fee).
Did you know that even teddy bears can have disabilities?…
Teaching children about difference and the inclusion of others is such an important aspect of fighting disabalism. So I was thrilled to see this child’s teddy bear in a wheelchair from Rackety’s.
Plus, after a little more Googling, I also came across this wheelchair from Build-a-Bear Workshop. Brilliant!
Following on from the documentary Love Me, Love My Face featuring Jono Lancaster, So What If My Baby Is Born Like Me? is the latest offering from the BBC, and looks at the dilemma parents with hereditary disabilities face when deciding whether to have children.
Jono Lancaster, 26, was born with Treacher Collins syndrome, a disability that has a 50% chance of being passed on to his children. Having faced hardship as a child, Jono and long-term girlfriend Laura, are unsure of whether to risk passing this disability, and its inherent problems, on to their child.
Trying to decide the right path, the programme sees the couple visit other families having faced this decision, as well as children with Treacher Collins syndrome and adults who have coped through adolescence living with the disability, and are happily out the other side!
Watch on BBC 3 tonight (19th April) at 9pm to learn a little more about this tough decision that so many face.