“My Mum knew there was something 'not quite right' as I went through childhood. I was clumsy and could fall over for no reason. I faced all the usual childhood tribulations but began to realise that there were things my friends could do that I couldn’t. After several years of trying to find an answer I was eventually diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia at the age of thirteen. This was a very confusing time for me as an outgoing teenager who now had a debilitating condition causing people to stare and mock my walking and falling. It was only after much research did the true meaning of this condition become clear, and as I approached adulthood I learned to accept how my life would change and how to make the most of it.
I am a very determined lady who went through mainstream school, college and onto university, where I gained a post graduate certificate in Disability Studies. I have travelled all over the world and passionately take on the system to fight for disabled rights.
Through the way I live my life, I aim to inspire people, disabled or not. I believe that anybody can achieve, and change anything in their life, and the words ‘I can’t’ aren't part of my vocabulary.
I am heavily involved in the charity Ataxia UK, the national organisation supporting people affected by Ataxia. The charity co-ordinate branches and support groups across the country, the Sheffield branch of which I chair. The branch meets regularly to offer friendly advice and support to one another, and share their experiences of life with the condition.
I am active in my local community and have chaired Doncaster Disability Cluster Group. It arranges for staff from local disability organisations and local disabled people to meet every other month. I am supported by the owner of DICE, Colin Findley to do this.
I created this board game to promote discussion and to deliver training to adults and young people about the barriers faced by people with a disability. I hope ‘Removing Barriers’ will offer you inspiration to live your life without barriers, whoever you are. It engages users in discussions about the barriers faced by disabled people and suggests ways in which those obstacles can be overcome.
Being disabled has taught me that although I might have to use a different approach to achieve things, everything and anything is possible.”
Toyah partnered with us to develop The Removing Barriers Game.