Well, that was officially the quickest week ever!
I can't believe another week has gone already, how did that happen and when did it happen?! Unfortunately, I can't blog this week about my day with British Athletics and Team GB as promised as I couldn't attend last minute due to family circumstances. So, you're all just going to have to wait until March for that blog! Amongst all the drama (which I won't go into!) last week, I did get some quite amazing news. I got 3 unconditional offers (3 different courses) for university to start in September 2014! So to those who said I wouldn't pass my Year 2, 6 and 9 SATS, my GCSE's and my A Levels, and that university was 'most definitely out of the question', up yours! Although I'm not sure whether university is for me and I know that I'll 'um' and 'ar' all the way up to the acceptance deadline date, it is actually pretty cool to say that 'I can go to university in September if I want'! I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't scared about going to university, because at the end of the day, who isn't scared? But there's just so much more to worry about when you have a disability, things that wouldn't even cross your average Joe's mind. How is Fresher's going to work? Not only am I living at home, but I can't wander from bar-to-bar in a city centre alone. I can't hold my own drink. If we're in a busy bar, am I going to spend most of my night saying 'hello' to the floor?! My next lecture is at the other end of the city, how am I going to get there unable to walk and use public transport alone? It's time to go to the next lecture, but all of the other 15,000 students are moving around the campus at the same time, am I going to make it alive?! Lectures have finished early or are cancelled for the day, but I'm not being picked up until 5pm, where can I go for the rest of the day? Obviously, some of these may or may not turn out to be true and we need to sit down and talk to the university about the help they can offer. I'd just like to stress though, these little problems and my disability will not stop me from going to university! It's not stopped me for 18 years, so it's not going to stop me now! What I meant by saying that I wasn't 100% sure about going to university was I actually don't know what I want to do with my life! I can't get my head around people who at the age of 18 know exactly what they want to do, but good luck to them! Through this website, it was my 'dream' to get teenagers/young people with Cerebral Palsy talking as well as giving them a 'voice' and a place for maybe parents to go who have children with CP and think 'maybe my child will be okay' (because they will be okay!) Since I set up in September, I have 'met' 4 teenagers/young people with Cerebral Palsy as well as countless, amazing, lovely emails. 2 out of the 4 teenagers/young people live so close to me and I didn't even know! So next week, hopefully we are meeting up! How amazing is that?! I never thought that something like this could and would ever happen when I set up the website! One of them is Josh Draycott, who ran The Great Yorkshire Run at aged 10! He has had 4 major operations at Sheffield Children's Hospital and he continually supports our much loved hospital with their 'Make It Better' campaign. He also fronted the Sheffield 'Run With Us' campaign with Jess Ennis! So we are connected through location, the hospital, athletics and of course Cerebral Palsy!
As well as Josh's amazing achievements and his fantastic work for Sheffield Children's Hospital, he was recently interviewed as a patient of the hospital and about his life with Cerebral Palsy, which you can view below!
And, if that wasn't enough for you, Josh is this week's guest blogger! So here is 16-year-oldJosh Draycott from Sheffield in his own words, enjoy!
'Hi everyone, My name is Josh Draycott. I am 16-years-old and I am from Sheffield. I am currently at Sheffield City College, studying ICT and before this I was a student at Birley Community College – this was the secondary school I attended and I finished my GCSE’s there in July 2013. I have Spastic Diplegia, which is one of the many forms of Cerebral Palsy, but this doesn't stop me from being a normal teen and doing everything else other teens do. I don't see my disability as a barrier and no one else should either. My mum and dad and my twin brother Sam are very supportive along with my mates at college and without them I wouldn't be as motivated as I am today. Let me talk a little about my early life and development. I was born a Jessops Hospital on the 17th of April 1997, however I was born prematurely at 11 weeks early with my twin brother Sam, so we were very tiny! As I started to develop I was doing everything Sam could do, but then there were certain things that Sam could do that I was finding more of a challenge e.g. sitting up and walking. So immediately my mum and dad knew something wasn't quite right and they took me to Sheffield Children's Hospital. It was here that I was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at just 18 months old. From here I was put under the Orthopaedic Surgeon, Mr Bell, who I owe a lot of credit to for the last 16 years, because he has performed 4 major operations on me that have changed my life. After these, I could walk unaided, although I use sticks to get around outside. It was also found out at the hospital that one of the reasons for my disability was because my brain was starved of oxygen. We also found out that I have a faulty heart valve which leaks from time to time and I have to go for check ups every 3 years at the Northern General Hospital. I may have to have an operation to replace it in the future, but it is fine at the moment so I try not to worry about it. I also only have one kidney that functions correctly, I just get this checked at my local GP every year. Me as a person and what I do for myself and others and what I get up to: I am a very active teenager and like to keep myself fit. When I was aged 10, I completed the Great Yorkshire Run. As I was recovering from one of my operations, I decided to do it to raise money for Rygate Therapy Centre, which is part of Sheffield Children's Hospital. After completing this with my brother Sam, we raised about £800 for them in total which I thought was a great achievement. After this I decided to join a running club with my brother – we joined the Hallamshire Harriers who train at the EIS. When I was 13, I did a photo shoot for the hospital magazine about my life story, which was amazing!! At the age of 14, I then decided to do a charity bike ride for the Children's Hospital of which I rode 16 miles and raised over £1,200. This only inspired me more to get even fitter so I now try and cycle most weekends and get out as often as I can and I manage to complete between 25-30 miles most weekends - I continue to do this to this day! At the age of 14, because all of the running and cycling I did, I was asked to front the Children's Hospital ‘Run With Us’ campaign alongside Jessica Ennis-Hill, which was brilliant because this involved me having a photo shoot with Jess and interviewing her. It was amazing to meet such an incredible athlete and she inspires me so much. Also, after this, I took by story further to share with others at The Cutlers Hall, Sheffield, where I spoke for 5 minutes about what like is like living with CP - it was amazing too sharing my successes and my story to others. One of my most recent events was being on BBC Radio Sheffield for an interview with Diana Luke – I spoke about my life from a patient’s point of view - be sure to check that out. I would just like to finish off by saying having CP shouldn't stop you from achieving your hopes and dreams! You are amazing and be thankful for who you are! If it weren't for the support from my family and friends at college, I wouldn't have the amazing life I have today. I hope you have been inspired by my story and hope that it makes you realise that your disability isn't a barrier and you should feel thankful for who you are! Feel free to contact me on: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/josh.draycott1 Follow me on Twitter: @Joshy_D You can contact me on any of these I will be more than happy to offer you any support, or guidance or even any questions you may have regarding Cerebral Palsy.'