Out with the old, and in with the new
It seems ages since I last blogged even though it was only a week and a bit ago! As you can see, the website has been given a bit of a 'fresh' look - lots of you contacted me with photos of yourselves and you now appear on the homepage rolling banner! Do keep your photos coming to me and I'll get them put up there with everyone else for you: firstname.lastname@example.org You will also see some famous faces on the rolling banner! Sophie Christiansen, Paralympic Dressage Champion contacted me with a lovely email with her photo for the website! I still can't quite believe it! We had a lovely exchange of emails where we discussed young people with Cerebral Palsy within society today and how, quite often, because sometimes people have no expectations of them, we felt that some maybe don't reach their aspirations as they don't have that belief in them? I said to Sophie that often, it takes inspiring and influential people like herself to go out there and show everybody that actually, we can do things! I don't know what everyone else thinks, but although I think that society is much better than it was and the London 2012 Paralympic Games did enormous amounts of good to change and challenge perceptions, unfortunately I do think generally people see the wheelchair and not the person. All of your experiences may be different, but I do find that when I'm out in public, people will talk to me through my mum (or whoever is pushing the wheelchair!). Errr, hello, I'm here! Francesca Martinez is also on the new rolling banner along with me. I met Francesca in October 2012 just before my 18th birthday after going to see one of her amazing shows! Meeting Francesca was a sort of 'turning-point' for me as she got up onto the stage with such confidence and it was clear she didn't really care what people were thinking of her 'wobbling' all over! Francesca has the same type of Cerebral Palsy as me and from the moment I saw her and met her, I literally had an extra burst of confidence! It also made me realise, although I am a 'normal' (it's that word again!) and although it is important for me to lead as a 'normal' life as possible, it's also important to meet and talk to people with the same condition as you, and I really think that applies to every single condition in the world. This is one of the main reasons I set up CP Teens UK - you can all connect and talk, and laugh at me going on! I think it's good to laugh with people who share your condition too - Laura, who contacted me through CP Teens UK, I talk to her lots and we meet up as well as going to athletics together, we were talking about IF (notice the capitals!) and when (many, many years yet!) we are pregnant, how on earth we're going to stand on our own 2 feet as we can't even do it very well as it is and it was genuinely the funniest of conversations! Sorry if I've embarrassed you Laura!
You will also see me with Hannah Cockroft, Paralympic Champion, on the rolling banner. I've told you the story before so I won't go on about it, but I met Hannah back in April 2013 when I went to a Paralympic GB day. Hannah Cockroft was on that 'people I need to meet but I never will before I die' list that we all seem to have! So, when I did meet her, it was definitely a 'omg' moment! Nearly 12 months on, I am doing athletics myself, I'm going to be classified in March, I am under British Athletics Parallel Success and I have my first competition in September - no pressure! So, meeting Hannah Cockroft was also a major 'turning-point' for me!
The website also has a new green background, some of the information has been updated and tweaked and there is a new 'PRESS' page - this page displays the amazing response from local press (and not so local, there is an article all the way from America!) from when I set up CP Teens UK in September 2013.
I went to my friend's new house on Saturday night and it was lovely ... until I needed to go to the toilet, which was upstairs. Now, I usually manage stairs pretty well, just hold my hand/link arms with me and I'm laughing, but oh no not these stairs! These stairs had no bannister/hand rail whatsoever, so they were just open to the drop and they had gaps in-between bigger enough to post an elephant through! So, as you can imagine, things got interesting when I needed the toilet! On the way back down, I resorted to the old days of sliding down on my bum! I'm not usually at all bothered about stuff like heights, health & safety etc. and to be honest, I usually get rather angry at people who suggest I shouldn't be doing things because 'it's not safe etc.', surely at the age of nearly 20 I can decide what I can and cannot do for myself?! I do feel like saying at times, 'er, I've had CP for 19 years, and you've had it, oh yes ... not even for 1 day!'. But, on Saturday night, I'll admit, I was scared of the staircase! Tomorrow, I am going to get some new insoles at the hospital - I'm sure all of you will be familiar with putting your feet in foam and/or plaster casts to have moulds made! I have one leg longer than the other so they balance my legs out and I have flat feet, so they're meant to stop my foot going over. However, although they appeared to work when I was younger, they don't seem to alter my foot position especially as a hole still appears in my shoe after 6-7 weeks! But, at least if I'm wearing them, I can't be blamed in years to come! It's kind of frustrating as I can feel them not working and not doing their job, but no matter how I try and explain it, people are literally like 'huh?!'. I think half the problem is the fact that I'm literally too strong and a little, rigid rubber insole cannot push my whole foot and lower leg in the opposite direction as I walk! Any physios, orthotics, orthopaedic people etc. reading this who have an explanation, fell free to explain!