I must begin by admitting that this is the first blog I have ever contributed to. I cannot, however, a more fitting and original blog to write for than Head over Wheels. I was invited write this piece by Louise, who have known for donkey’s years, since we were both five, in fact. Regular bloggers and readers may have to forgive me if this style is not the usual form for blogs. I hope people will enjoy it nevertheless.
I will now follow the example set by Louise and telling you a little about myself. My name is Elizabeth Hancock, and, as you may have surmised from my brief introduction, I am twenty-five. Those closest to me call me Lizzie. I, like Louise, was born with Cerebral Palsy which limits my mobility and means I am only able to walk short distances and use a wheelchair when I’m out and about. I am fortunate enough to be able to work a short distance using sticks. I was fortunate enough to have surgery to ensure that I would be able to continue to do this as I grew older, which was thankfully successful. Even in that admittedly sometimes rather bleak situation, I was lucky enough to make some great friends who I’m in touch with over ten years later, and managed to have a great laugh at times. There were about three of us who were all in hospital for similar operations, and we used to refer to ourselves as ‘the CP club’. One particularly hilarious incident I remember involved a fruit pastel ending up in a glass of Vimto (but I guess you had to be there)!
I went through school much as anyone else does. I have always enjoyed learning and did fairly well in my endeavours. For two years from 2004 to 2006 I was involved with my local community as a member of the Student Council. One of my pet projects was raising awareness of disability by going round the town centre and filling out a questionnaire asking about how particular shops dealt with customers with disabilities, asking whether they had a lower counter that wheelchair users could reach, for example. For anyone who is interested, Marks and Spencer’s came top of all the shops we visited.
In short order I found myself undertaking an undergraduate degree in Psychology, having discovered a liking for it at A-Level. I did however end up completing a joint degree in History, which I have always loved, and Psychology together. During the course of my time at University I was asked to take part in a study for another university exploring what it is like to be a student (I don’t know, anyone would think I had an interesting life :)). In this endeavour as in others I have been supported by the best, kindest and most loyal friends and family anyone could wish for. I enjoined my time at University immensely. I came away with not only a degree in my chosen subject, but also with one in the art of procrastination, as I’m sure many have done before me.
I continue to live my life fully, and have recently completed a Masters degree in History at the University of Warwick and await results. For the past three years I have been volunteering for the National Trust and find it very fulfilling and relish the change to meet lovely people. I hope to soon enough join Louise in the Adapted Car Drivers Club. I have also be involved with other forms of volunteering in the past.
Apart from the more usual hobbies of reading, binge watching on Netflix and quizzing I enjoy playing poker and creative writing (which is why writing an almost autobiographical piece seems strange).
But that is quite enough about me I should think. I hope this serves to show that I have never let my disability hold me back, and that I believe that it is important for people to embrace their differences regardless of whether they are able-bodied or not. Our differences are, after all, what makes the world such a vibrant, versatile and interesting place.