Tag Archives: disability

Beauty in motion

30 Aug

Last night, I watched the paralympic opening ceremony. If you fast-forward to 3hrs 11 minutes & 30 seconds – you will discover beauty in motion.

This dance (and the song Bird Gerhl – sung so hauntingly by 16-year old Birdy) is one of the most beautiful things I have seen for a very long time.

If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth spending a few minutes watching this.

And if you have – why not watch again? It is – after all – compellingly, extraordinarily beautiful.


One (hand)step at a time

20 Jun

I’ve been thinking recently about how life sometimes feels like one mountain-climb after another – one struggle followed by another, one battle then another.

This short video stopped me in my tracks. Gratitude replaced complaint. Gratitude and awe.


If your life was a book…

4 Feb

… and you were writing the story, how would you want it to turn out?

This is the question Amy Purdy asked herself, as a 19-year old aspirational snow boarder whose legs had both been amputated above the knee. I love this TED talk. I love Amy’s visible emotions as she speaks of the illness that led to her double amputation 11 years earlier. I love her candour in talking about the depression that followed this life-defining event. I love her bravery, courage and determination. Determination to carry on writing her story, to carry on dreaming – in spite of her new limitations.

I don’t usually like seeing people cry, but I really appreciated Amy’s struggle to hold back the tears in this talk. Why? Because, in spite of the fact she is publicly speaking on a stage and potentially broadcast to an audience of millions, she still remains in touch with her emotions, she still recalls the pain of her loss. She is not a robot who overcome huge obstacles to become the world’s best adaptive snow boarder. She is not an emotion-less champion. She is a true champion. A champion who has stared failure in the eye, and kept staring until she found the inner strength to get back on her snowboard.

So thank you Amy for your courage, tenacity and hope. You have inspired me today.

A truly special one this minute

26 Jan

Last night, I watched, mostly through tears, the incredible story of Trish, Steve and baby Elizabeth on One Born Every Minute. Brain-damaged after being hit by a car at the age of 13, Trish was left brain-damaged, with physical and mental disabilites. Today, she still struggles with her memory, she has a weakened right arm and foot and struggles to walk far unaided. Yet she is full of life, fun, charismatic and brave. She was been happily married to Steve for 20 years. It was incredible to see someone that many would label “disabled” and therefore “unable to become a mother” entering into motherhood. Incredible to see the strong marriage between Trish and Steve, who seemed to care for, support and love each other in a partnership of equals. Trish showed us that there is so much more to being human than a fully-functioning brain.

For Trish, her big fear was that they would “take my baby away”. She realised that many in our society see the disabled as “other” and “unable”. In an interview with a national paper, she says, “Nobody thought I’d even get married – let alone have a baby. But being disabled doesn’t mean you can’t become a mum. I wanted to show other disabled people that they can become parents too.”

We don’t talk about it very often, but often I think that, as a society, we are quick to judge those with disabilities, quick to make assumptions about all they cannot do, quick to see the limitations rather than the potential. We fail to see the person as a whole, we focus on that which makes them different to “us”. And we fail to see that love is a very potent force in bringing out the best in all of us, able-bodied or otherwise. Trish and Steve clearly love each other deeply, fully devoted to one another, fully “for” each other, fully alive in their love. Such love is the foundation of hope for all of us, whatever our limitations and circumstances. Such love helps us conquer our fears, battle against all the odds, feel safe in a precarious world. Any child able to grow up in a home underpinned by this love is getting an incredible start in life, regardless of a parent’s disability or background.

I would really recommend watching some of the interviews and clips featuring Steve and Trish on this website – heartwarming and disarming, I think you might need a tissue ready before you click ‘play’!

Also, if you want to read more of the Daily Mail interview with this fantastic couple, click here

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