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My Story: Maddie Gordon

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Maddie’s story is one of extraordinary courage and resilience. When she fell over a loose pavement slab at school, she could not have imagined the impact that it would have on her life. Although she carried on with her day as usual, the pain in her wrist never subsided. She was dismissed from first aid multiple times & only after X-rays, splints, and plaster casts, Maddie was diagnosed with CRPS when the feeling of the cast being cut off my arm felt like electricity burning through her veins 

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is a chronic condition that affects the nervous system and causes excruciating pain. It’s a condition that Maddie has lived with for almost a decade, and it has affected every aspect of her life. The pain was so severe that it spread throughout her entire body, leaving one of her legs paralysed. At one point, she even had to rely on a wheelchair and assistance from her mother for daily tasks like washing and dressing.

Despite the physical and emotional pain that she was going through, Maddie refused to let her condition define her. She turned to sports as a way to cope and found a new sense of purpose and belonging. Wheelchair racing gave her a sense of community, while basketball helped her to channel her competitive spirit.

It was powerlifting that gave Maddie a renewed sense of purpose and drive. In just over a year and a half, she has achieved incredible feats, including lifting an impressive 225kg in a seated deadlift. What’s more impressive is that she’s competed against able-bodied rivals and won, proving that disabled people are just as capable as anyone else.

Maddie is determined to inspire and empower others, especially those who face challenges due to disabilities. She’s currently training to become a personal trainer, with the goal of helping others realise their full potential. Maddie’s story is a powerful reminder that with determination and hard work, anything is possible. She’s a true inspiration, and her achievements are a testament to the human spirit’s resilience.

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Travelodge Incident Highlights the Importance of Disability Inclusion in Accommodations

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Travelodge is involved in a distressing incident that underscores the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities. a woman who relies on a wheelchair and overnight ventilator support found herself sleeping on a Travelodge dining room sofa after being informed that the accessible room she had paid for was “out of order.” 

Kat Watkins, who lives with brittle bone disease and sleep apnea, expressed her ongoing pain and frustration nearly four weeks after the incident on April 26th, which has significantly impacted her confidence in travelling. 

As a 36-year-old UN development officer at Disability Wales, Ms. Watkins had planned her trip from South Wales to see James Bay perform at the Royal Albert Hall. However, upon arriving at the Travelodge in Hounslow, she was informed that all the accessible rooms were unavailable due to maintenance issues.

With no alternative rooms accessible to her, the hotel arranged for a taxi to transport Ms. Watkins to an accessible room at the Twickenham Travelodge after the concert. This arrangement was necessary because many Tube stations lack wheelchair access. 

Unfortunately, when Ms. Watkins returned to Hounslow at 12:30 am, the hotel staff was unable to find a suitable taxi, and all the previously “out of order” rooms had been filled.

With no resolution reached by 2:30 am, Ms. Watkins, already fatigued and in pain, along with her PA, Anabela, were left with no choice but to sleep on two sofas in the hotel’s dining room. 

Travelodge, in response to the incident, has extended a sincere apology to Ms. Watkins and her PA. They acknowledge that they failed to meet their usual high standard of service and should have informed Ms. Watkins before check-in that her room was unavailable and her booking had been relocated to a nearby hotel.

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Mobility Issues to Enter and Exit Cars: Insights from Toyota and RCOT

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Toyota has partnered with the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) to provide tips for people with mobility issues who may find it challenging to get into or out of a car. Karin Orman, RCOT Director of Practice and Innovation, says that there are many simple ideas and adjustments to help people of all ages and with a range of conditions overcome these difficulties.

To demonstrate this, Toyota spent a day with two occupational therapists and John Healy, who uses a walking stick, a walker, or a mobility scooter. The therapists demonstrated ways to help John get into and out of two different size cars: a Toyota Aygo X and a Corolla Touring Sports.

Modern cars like the Toyota Aygo X and Corolla Touring Sports can be easily adjusted to make access easier and safer for passengers and drivers with restricted mobility. For example, the seat can be moved back to create more space, and the seat belts and steering column can be adjusted for comfort and safety. It’s also important to think about how to transport mobility equipment and where it will fit in the car or boot to make access easier and safer.

When getting into a car, it’s important to work out the safest place to put your hands to provide support. Instead of balancing on a walking frame, you could use the frame of the car or roof-mounted grab handles. Alternatively, you might want to consider getting a portable door handle. Once sitting down, you can use a swivel cushion to help you get into the right position. A leg lifter can help get legs over the sill of the car, and if a car is too high, using a step could help.

When parking, it’s important to identify potential hazards to avoid difficulties when getting in or out of the car. Try to park on a level surface and make sure there is enough room to open the door fully so that the driver and passenger can both get out easily and safely retrieve any mobility aids. If you’re going on a long journey, plan breaks where you can have a rest and rehydrate, especially if you have a health condition that makes you tired.

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Channel 4’s Paralympic Production Training Scheme

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Applications Now Open for Channel 4’s Paralympic Production Training Scheme!

Channel 4’s Paralympic Production Training Scheme is providing a year-long placement for 19 disabled individuals at independent production companies across the UK. Successful applicants will work as trainee production coordinators or researchers in various genres, including sport, entertainment, and factual productions.

The scheme is funded by 4 Skills and led by thinkBIGGER!, with training and support provided. Interested individuals can apply through Channel 4’s website. The scheme aims to identify and nurture new talent, increase the number of disabled individuals behind the camera in sports production, and offer career opportunities for aspiring broadcasters. 

Trainee roles for 12 months are also being offered by several other companies, including Brown Bob Productions, Firecrest Films, Mighty Productions, North One, Open Mike, Outline, Raise the Roof Productions, Warner Bros, Worker Bee and 4Creative. These companies have produced notable content such as coverage of Formula 1, UEFA Women’s Euros 2022 and Wimbledon.

Whisper CEO, Sunil Patel, emphasized the importance of promoting positive change in the industry, stating that they aim to create a diverse team reflective of the world we live in. 

The Paralympic Production Training Scheme offers valuable and specialized opportunities for disabled individuals to enter the industry, which is crucial for promoting inclusivity and diversity in sports production. The aim is to welcome more disabled talent into the industry and at Whisper and Channel 4, allowing them to work for years to come.

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After being selected, applicants will participate in a week-long TV bootcamp, where they will receive guidance from previous scheme graduates and commissioning editors about how to succeed in the industry. The application process can be found on www.c4productiontrainingscheme.com, with a deadline of May 28th. The trainees are scheduled to begin on September 18th. 

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