Disabilities behind the election

As the day of reckoning arrives for the political parties at the 2010 election, I wanted take a moment to step back and mention the personal stories of how disabilities have touched both David Cameron and Gordon Brown.

In February last year, David Cameron’s son Ivan who had cerebral palsy coupled with Ohtahara Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy, died just aged six.

David Cameron - disabled=

David, wife Sarah and children Ivan, 6, Arthur, 3 and Nancy,5

The unimaginable pain must still be raw for David and his family, yet I can’t help but take notice of how they have soldiered on speaking frequently of the “joy and love” Ivan gave them. “He is a magical child with a magical smile that can make me feel like the happiest father in the world… We adore him in ways that you will never love anybody else, because you feel so protective… And his smile – slightly crooked, sometimes accompanied by a little moan – can light up a room. It never fails to make me both happy and immensely proud of him.”

David Cameron - disabled=

Gordon Brown has also been affected by disability, with his three-year old son James Fraser suffering from Cystic Fibrosis. Although less verbal about his son’s condition, Gordon has stated, “I love being a dad. It’s great fun and there’s nothing more important and there’s nothing I enjoy better.”

Gordon Brown – Cystic Fibrosis - election - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

Gordon Brown, wife Sarah and son James Fraser

After facing the death of their premature daughter Jennifer who was just 10 days old, Gordon commented “You never come to terms with it…you always know there’s something missing…two weeks ago she would have been going to school for the first time. You know you try to do things that make life better so it’s had a purpose…that something good can come out of tragedy.”  

Gordon Brown – Cystic Fibrosis - election - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

Gordon Brown, wife Sarah and children John and James Fraser

A spokesperson for Gordon Brown and his family has highlighted how “they hope to be able to play their part in doing what they can to help others.” David Cameron asserts that this experience has opened his eyes to the NHS and the vital role they play in helping people with disabilities and their parents; “it’s sharpened my focus on the world of care assessments, eligibility criteria, disability living allowance, respite breaks and OT’s… But I would not dare to call myself a carer. The work that full-time carers or those with little extra help do is unbelievable.”

Now I don’t want you to think for one minute that this piece is a ringing endorsement for any political party! Nor am I blind to the shameless spin ‘doctoring’ that may play a part in the way we see these political figures and their families.

But at a time when the papers publish nothing but news of the election, I wanted to highlight the positive and loving image I feel Cameron and Brown have portrayed regarding their families, whether spun or not!

Neither wanting their children’s conditions to be considered a tragedy, it’s refreshing to be reminded of how the life of a child with disabilities can not only enrich someone’s life, but bring new understanding and reverence to their view of the world. I hope others see children with disabilities not as pitiful beings in a solely sad existence, but a blessing to their families and loves ones.


May 6, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Inspiration.

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