The only way is up!
So, it's only February, and it's already been a really busy year for CP Teens UK! I can't believe some of the connections CP Teens UK is making, the most recent being Sheffield Children's Hospital. The hospital did a lot of work promoting the launch of CP Teens UK in October 2013 - my Orthopaedic (I really do not know how to spell it!) Consultant Surgeon is based at the Children's Hospital, although obviously I am under Adult's services now. CP Teens UK is now working with the Ryegate Centre, which is part of Sheffield Children's and it is like a therapy centre (physio, OT etc.), and it has a Gait Analysis Lab (just so they can scientifically prove that your walking is weird, haha!) and a Hydrotherapy Pool, which I seem to remember I threw a temper tantrum every time my mum mentioned the word when I was little!
We are currently working towards putting on some events for the children & young people who use the Ryegate Centre, along the lines of sports, which gives a change of scene from physio etc. I am so pleased to be working alongside the Ryegate Centre - I set up CP Teens UK to help young people with Cerebral Palsy & similar disabilities, and I am a sports student as I want to go into disability sport & improving lives through sport, so working with the Ryegate Centre is like a match made in heaven!
I think it's great that the Ryegate Centre want to introduce sport to the children who use the centre. It is my own personal opinion, but I most definitely think my own participation in sport has done more for me physically than anything else. My coordination is so much better than how it was before, and I can now do things that 2 years ago, I couldn't do. For example, there are steps and stairs dotted around everywhere on my University Campus - 2 years ago, these would have been a real issue for me, I just wouldn't have been able to them. Now, I can and as stupid as it sounds, it's made a real difference. I always get that split second 'oh my god, I'm going to fall!', but, 2 years ago, if I did attempt steps, it was not without someone's arm holding me rather tightly! I think Coach Adam (who I know will probably read this!) will agree, when I first started Athletics, I was all over the place - he had to hold my hand for me to lift one foot over a hurdle no higher than my ankle! But now, I'll even have a good go at doing them backwards ... with Adam close by ... with a First Aid kit, haha!
I am also honoured that a massive NHS organisation such as Sheffield Children's Hospital want to work with me/CP Teens UK, a small one-woman organisation - with of course, the help & support of my Mum, the Ambassadors & the Committee!
CP Teens UK is now starting to gain support from buisnesses, both locally & nationally, which is absolutely fantastic! It's so hard to convince people nowadays that you do what you 'say on the tin' as a lot of charities unfortunately don't. I think some people think I'm winding them up when I say that I run CP Teens UK from my bedroom and sometimes even from my iPhone in lectures & seminars (they don't lie when they say women can multitask!). A fundemental problem of mine is that, your average able-bodied Joe can use their phone discreetly during a lecture/seminar under a table or something ... oh, but, not me! I'm about as discreet as a heard of elephants tip-toeing! It takes great concentration and you can see it all over my face! Worst still, if someone says 'Ellie', I literally jump through the ceiling as a) I'm doing something I shouldn't be doing and, b) I have a startle reflex anyway!
Tickets are now going fast for the CP Teens UK Ball, it's definitely not one to be missed! If you don't live within travelling distance of the hotel, there are a number of rooms availabe at a much reduced rate for people attending the ball, but these are limited. Likewise, if you already have your ball tickets, but you'd like a reduce rate room, please contact me - first come, first served!
This week's guest blog is a brilliant one, if I do say so myself. I am delighted to say that another partnership that CP Teens UK has made this year is 'Para-Tri', which was set up by Sophia Warner and it is something that all of you can get involved in! Sophia is an international CP Athlete and here is her guest post - thanks Sophia!...
Sophia and her Bronze medal at the World IPC Championships
"Hello CP Teens and thank you Ellie for inviting me to be a guest blogger. One of the upsides of being the grand old age of 40 (eek!) is that I’ve witnessed first hand a massively positive change in disability sport.
For 18 years, I was a T35 sprinter and I made my international debut in the 100m and 200m way back in 1998. In those days it was literally my mum, my dad and our dog watching. Fast forward to 2012 and I ran a PB in front of 80,000 people at the London Paralympics.
It has been an incredible journey and one that makes me very hopeful for the future of disability sport. But, my big frustration over the past two decades has been the complete lack of fun, mass-participation events specifically for people with disabilities.
The idea to put on such an event first struck me after I completed the London Triathlon in 1998. I was the first disabled person to do so and even as an elite athlete, I found the idea of entering an able-bodied triathlon daunting. I remember having to ask fellow entrants to help me down with my bike from a really high rack and I had trouble taking off my wetsuit on my own.
So, the idea started to form and nearly two decades on I am putting on Para Tri, the UK’s first and only mass-participation triathlon dedicated to people with disabilities. It’s on 9th August at Dorney Lake in Windsor, an amazing venue that was chosen to hold the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic rowing and canoeing.
My two priorities were to make Para Tri as fun and accessible as possible. There are six different races of varying distances that are aimed at every disability and fitness level – four individual events for people with disabilities only, and two relay events that allow people with disabilities to face the challenge with their disabled and able-bodied friends and family.
From the very beginning I’ve been overwhelmed by the universal positivity for the project. What has been most rewarding of all is the number of people who have contacted me saying they wouldn’t have even considered doing something like this if it weren’t for Para Tri. I really hope this blog has got you reaching for your workout gear! Take a look at www.paratri.com to choose your challenge…"