Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month 2020, March 30th
Ruby is 16-years-old and has Spastic Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy, which effects the right side of her body. Ruby has had many operations to try and help her walk better as well as to ease pain. Since the age of 2, Ruby has worn splints and she still wears them to improve posture and toe-walking.
Ruby is currently learning to drive in her adapted car. She also represents Great Britain in Wheelchair Tennis - Ruby travels around the world playing in tournaments and she is currently ranked #10 in the world!
Ruby hates it when people assume that because she mostly walks and only uses a wheelchair sometimes that she is not in pain and that she isn't working 5 times as hard as other people to get to classes.
Something that is really important to Ruby is her family & friends, as well as her sport and being treated the same as other people, including not having her disability used against her.
If Ruby could change one thing for youngsters with physical disabilities it would be accessibility and social inclusion. Ruby says, "At times in my school throughout the years I have felt like a burden and felt as if I have been treated differently when in a wheelchair or using crutches. I felt so isolated I didn’t want to attend or be in a wheelchair, even though I knew I would be in less pain. As for accessibility I couldn’t attended certain buildings, which if I was walking I would have been able to. Despite me making my school aware of this they still didn't make it accessible. The disabled toilet wasn't accessible without a key only staff had, which made me feel more anxious. I feel it should be a requirement to have ramps in place".
In Ruby's spare time, you will find her training or out with her friends. Ruby says, "I’m doing some sort of sport at least 6x times a week. Sport changed my life, it’s giving me a purpose. My confidence has definitely improved since playing".
In the future Ruby hopes to make the 2024 Paralympic Games in Wheelchair Tennis. Ruby would also like to help other youngsters with Cerebral Palsy.
Ruby says, "Everything happens for a reason! For example, if I didn’t have my disability I wouldn’t be playing a high level sport representing my county or have met some of my best friends. Although there may be a lot of bumps in the road, one day I’ll be where I want to be."