Be proud of who you see in the mirror

Living Life to the Fullest co-researcher Ruth Spurr has recently begun working with specialist talent agent, Zebedee Management. Below, we re-post Ruth’s blog, which she wrote for Zebedee this week to raise awareness of Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS). Also check out Ruth’s brilliant blog, Ruth’s Bucket List.

I’m Ruth, I’m 23 years old and I live with #EhlersDanlosSyndrome. #EDS is a genetic connective tissue disorder that affects the collagen in our body. Over 90% of our bodies are made up with collagen so this isn’t much that’s not affected. I have always been unwell since a child but because it’s so hard to diagnose it took till I was 20 years old till I got a diagnosis. Everyone is different and it can be mild, severe or life threatening depending on your type of EDS and severity. I live with EDS Type 3, the #Hypermobility Type and a number of secondary conditions because of it including POTS, (Postural Orthostatic Tachychardia Syndrome which affects my heart and autonomic nervous system) and MCAD (Mast Cell Activation Disorder which is a immunological condition and causes inappropriate reactions to every day things from rashes to breathing problems). For me personally the EDS causes multi systemic problems and affects me causing chronic pain, fragile joints, bladder failure and intestinal mobility. I also suffer with infrequent breathing problems leading to #seizures and infections needing IV antibiotics and I have now fought sepsis (which is a very dangerous blood infection) six times which I know I’m very lucky to have survived.

Image of Ruth Spurr sitting on hospital bed looking happy

Image courtesy of Ruth Spurr http://ruthsbucketlist.co.uk/

Over the last four years my condition has deteriorated a lot and needing stabilising. I spent over 20 months in hospital including multiple stays in intensive care. There was a critical moment in March 2015 with my first arrest and stay in intensive care. Just under a week later when I was finally brought round from the coma and we were all on cloud nine that I had survived what I just had. One of the doctors said “it’s just amazing, you really shouldn’t have survived that but you did!” That was the start of my bucket list.

One of the main reasons was one of my best friends who I hadn’t spoke to in years came to see me at that time and when she realised I could have died it made everything else seem so small because in the end we only have one life and we should be living it to the full. That’s just what my list is about, living every moment and not putting things off, feel the fear and do it anyway.

‘Have fun, be happy and make a difference in your life as life is too short and too precious not to’.

Have fun, be happy and make a difference in your life as life is too short and too precious not to. I know that so well and I’m doing my best to live life and grasp every moment I can. I’m not able to work because of my condition but I do talks to children and young people on disability in my local area when I’m able play #wheelchairbasketball too. As well that I am also in the process of training my Dog Willow to become my assistance dog.

I love raising awareness for illness and #disability, showing the kids I talk to that anything is possible and we should all be treated equally. So when I had the chance to be part of #teamzebedee I grabbed that with both hands and very happily said “yes!” I’ve often really struggled with the way I look and found it hard to see the beauty in all my scars and tubes. But over the last year especially I’ve learnt to love myself.

‘All I ever want to do is live my life to the full and make a difference where I can’.

This is who I am, illness and all but that isn’t all I am as I am so much more and I feel so honoured that Zebedee see that in me too. All I ever want to do is live my life to the full and make a difference where I can. If any child, young person or adult is reading this and has any kind of disability or illness please know that if I can do this so can you.

Your illness does not define who you are and you are just as beautiful despite any scars. Be proud of who you see in the mirror, we’re all individual for a reason. Together we can help raise awareness, change perceptions of disability and show the world that we’re here and we deserve to be heard and seen just like anyone else.

This blog post has been reblogged from https://www.zebedeemanagement.co.uk/blog/eds-awareness-month with Ruth Spurr’s permission. Thanks to Zebedee Management.

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Living Life to the Fullest: Arts, Activism and Youth

We are thrilled to be able to say that in September (11th – 13th, 2018) Living Life to the Fullest will be holding a panel at the 9th Biennial Lancaster Disability Studies conference in the north of England, UK. The conference welcomes disability researchers, academics and activists from around the world, and we are so excited to share the process of our project so far in our panel entitled, Living Life to the Fullest: Arts, Activism and Youth (we share the introduction to our abstract below).

In our panel, The Co-Researcher Collective will offer a debut screening of its short documentary, The Living Life to the Fullest Project (2018; working title). Co-researchers will also explain how the Collective developed, its role, and the expertise it brings as a group of young disabled people co-leading research of this kind. The Co-Researcher Collective will outline its innovative use of on-line methods and, more broadly, the ways in which it is shaping the wider project.Living Life to the Fullest screenshot

Abstract: Living Life to the Fullest: Arts, Activism and Youth 

In this panel we share our methodological and theoretical journey so far in our narrative and arts-informed ESRC-funded research project, Life, Death, Disability and the Human: Living Life to the Fullest. Our research seeks to forge new understandings of the lives, hopes, desires and contributions of disabled young people with what are classified as having, according to medical language, ‘life-limiting and life-threatening impairments’ (hereby LL/LTIs). We can gauge the values of any society by considering how it treats those people who are the most marginalised and too often disabled young people find themselves on the outskirts of society. This is especially the case for young people with LL/LTIs. And, while we know much about the deaths of young people with LL/LTI, we know relatively little about their everyday lives, ambitions and desires. This invisibility is detrimental to their social and emotional wellbeing, and that of their families, carers and allies. Working alongside our Research Management Team of community research partners, disabled people, parents of disabled children living with LL/LTI, academics, researchers, activists and other supporters, and the Co-Researcher Collective, a core group of young co-researchers living with LL/LTI, we are in the process of co-producing knowledge that seeks to value short(er) lives and respect death as part of the human condition.

The Co-Researcher Collective (represented by Sally Whitney and Emma Vogelmann)

Kirsty Liddiard, Katherine Runswick-Cole, and Dan Goodley, School of Education and iHuman, University of Sheffield

You can find out more about the conference, here.

 

 

Sharing Stories #SayWhatYouThink

Our newest Co-Researcher, Carries Aimes, wanted to share her experience of being interviewed as a participant of Living Life to the Fullest. Carrie was interviewed by fellow co-researcher, Sally Whitney. The Co-Researcher Collective designed the interview schedule used in all Living Life to the Fullest interviews. Carrie shares parts of her interview below*, taken from her own blog, Life on the Slow Lane.  

Picture of Carrie Aimes

Carrie Aimes

Do you think the general public hold an accurate understanding of disability? Why or why not?

No, I don’t. I think people who have never had any particular connection or interaction with disabled people lack the knowledge, experience and empathy required to hold an accurate understanding of disability. Furthermore, I think there’s a lack of awareness of how diverse disability is and how many people it actually affects.

I also think people’s perceptions of disability are heavily influenced by the depictions they see in the media. Depictions of disabled people played by able-bodied actors can be very misleading for various reasons. Quite often these portrayals are ‘airbrushed’ and sentimentalized.

The next topic is about your relationship with yourself. Do you have a strong sense of identity? What factors contribute to your identity?

I’m really not sure to be honest. I guess that implies that I don’t have a strong sense of identity. I’ve never really given this question much thought.

I’m not a fan of labelling or categorizing people. At the end of the day, we are all very different, unique individuals.

I guess, in the simplest terms, I am a daughter, a sister, an auntie and a friend. Despite the fact that I often blog about certain aspects of my life, I am actually a very private person who prefers to remain anonymous (or at least, as anonymous as possible).

I identify as somewhat of an introvert. I am incredibly insecure and self-conscious (painfully so) due to my physical disability and the presence of my powered wheelchair. I do feel like people look at the chair before they see me.

I’m very much aware of how different I look compared to ‘normal’ able-bodied people, and how others view and perceive me because of this. I think, because I am so lacking in confidence, my sense of self and identity is negatively impacted.

I am much better at thinking, talking about and dealing with other people and their problems versus my own!

Do you identify as disabled? Has this changed over time?

Yes, I do identify as disabled, though my disability does not define me as a person. I have no problem with the term, nor being referring to as a disabled person. It is simply a matter of fact. In the same way I would describe myself as a white, British female, I am also physically disabled.

I have Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy. There is no hiding or escaping from it, therefore I choose to accept and embrace it.

Since I began blogging, I have noticed a lot of discussion, within the disabled community, regarding the topics of terminology and semantics. There are those who take offence at being identified as, or even labelled ‘disabled’. Some may prefer terms such as ‘differently abled’. (Personally, I find this descriptor a little ridiculous and would never refer to myself as ‘differently abled’). Then again, there are those who don’t consider their impairment to be a notable part of their identity at all.

My view on this has remained consistent throughout my life. My condition is congenital, meaning that I have lived with it from birth and have always been aware of it. I am disabled. In all honesty, I really wish I wasn’t! But the fact is, I am. To me, there’s really no point in denying or ignoring this part of my identity.

You’ve mentioned your thoughts around how others perceive you and how you therefore perceive yourself. Does how you think others perceive you (or even how you perceive yourself) change depending upon context (e.g. at work; with family; with friends)?

I think the way others perceive me varies depending on context. If I’m out and about amongst the general public – for example, shopping with friends – I do notice looks and stares from strangers. It can be bothersome. Some people are so indiscreet and don’t think twice about glaring!

Complete strangers have approached me in the street, clearly feeling entitled to pass judgement and make offensive and inappropriate comments regarding my disability. For instance, a man once asked if I believe in God. Put on the spot (and obviously quite shocked) I hastily answered, ‘no’. He then told me that is the reason I am in a wheelchair!

However, for the most part, I don’t take offence at people looking or staring, so long as they are respectful. I appreciate that by nature, people are inquisitive. All of us, myself included, are curious about anything considered different or not the norm. For this reason, I will happily answer disability-related questions from people who are polite and considerate.

I can’t speak on their behalf but in general, I think (or assume) my family don’t even see my disability. I’m just Carrie. The only time it really smacks them in the face (so to speak) is when I get ill.

In terms of how I perceive myself, I think this is fairly consistent regardless of context. I am very self-deprecating and self-critical. Essentially, I have always wanted to fit in, especially during my school years. I want to be able to do all the things able-bodied people can. I want to be independent, to drive, to walk, to run, to be spontaneous and do things without having to plan or rely on others.

This research project is about young people with ‘life-limiting’ or ‘life-threatening’ impairments ( LL/LTIs), the next questions surround living with that.
What does ‘life-limiting’ mean to you?

I consider myself to have a life-limiting condition (Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy). I have come to terms with the fact that my disability will inevitably impact how long I live. Although people with the same condition are now living longer thanks to various treatments and medical intervention, life expectancy is still much shorter than the average person.

I dread winter and all the viruses circulating throughout the community. Every time I get a cold it leads to a chest infection. For me this is very serious since it often develops into a more complex issue. Many times over the years, I have been admitted to hospital with respiratory complaints including pneumonia, pneumothorax (collapsed lung) and pleurisy.

*I did elaborate further during my interview, though for personal reasons, I have chosen not to include the rest of my answer here.

Does this impact any decisions you make?

YES! All of my decisions. I had a particularly bad bout of pneumonia in 2013. It took many months for me to recover and was incredibly difficult to overcome, both physically and mentally. At that point, my priorities changed.

Up until then I had been pursuing my aims of moving out of my parental home, and finding employment….but after realising how fragile my body actually is, I decided to end the lengthy quest for accommodation – an incredibly stressful quest that I had been struggling with for over two years, without assistance!

My primary focus now is health and happiness. I have to do what is best to protect and care for my body.

*I have chosen to remove parts of my original answer to this question.

Do you feel like it is important to set goals? And does anything stop you from doing this? Are your goals are shaped by what support is assumed to be/not be available or by the support you currently receive?

My mother keeps encouraging me to set goals, like aiming for at least one holiday per year. She wants me to make the most out of the time I have – however long or short – which I understand and agree with.

In August 2017, my first nephew was born. This has been the biggest motivation for me to keep going – to pursue good health, happiness and to embrace life!

I am so much happier since he was born – everyone has noticed. I often say, I hope to live long enough to see him grow up. I want most of all for him to remember me. So this is my biggest goal.

This question is rather pertinent as I currently have only one part-time PCA (personal care assistant). She is very young and hates driving my wheelchair accessible vehicle. As a result, I feel very isolated and excluded from society. I would like to be able to get out, to meet friends and go to events. But right now I am unable to, as I don’t have the support in place.

You have talked about not being able to get out of the house. Would you say you ever feel lonely or that you miss out because of your disability?
Do you miss out more because of your own health problems or accessibility issues?

Yes, definitely. There are times I feel lonely even though I am by nature quite a solitary person. I am more than happy with my own company – it’s a good job, really!

I’m not a fan of social media at all. But like it or not, for me it is a lifeline. Without it, I would feel incredibly isolated. I mostly use Facebook Messenger in order to stay in touch with friends and to meet others in a similar position to myself.

Health problems as well as accessibility issues contribute to missed opportunities. So many times I have made plans, then had to cancel due to ill health – usually chest infections. Because of this, I am now very reluctant to make future plans for fear of disappointment.

For example, I finally managed to book tickets for the Strictly Come Dancing, January 2017 tour. I was so excited and had looked forward to it for months. I then caught a severe chest infection and was unable to go. It may sound dramatic but I was gutted. I had tried to get tickets for years but couldn’t, as the limited accessible seating was always sold out.

What worries you about your future with a complex condition? What would you say is your biggest worry?

I worry most about my health and my ability to fight respiratory illness. As a kid, when I got a chest infection I would need a course of antibiotics and a week off school to recover. However, as I have aged, the duration of these illnesses has gradually increased. They have become much more complex to treat too. These days, it takes everything I have to overcome a chest infection. I worry about how many more times I am able to do it and therefore what I might miss out on in life.

How has your family been impacted (for better or worse) by your disability? For example, has it affected them financially or affected your relationships with them? How do you feel about this?

Wow – there is no end to how much my family has been impacted by my disability!

Yes, very much financially. For one thing, I have a ground-floor bedroom/bathroom extension that was built in 2000. Back then, my parents’ income was assessed. They were entitled to a partial grant, though this was a very small sum. In order to fund the build, they had to take out a second mortgage.

Holidays are MUCH more expensive than they would be for the average family. Medical insurance and the need for accessible accommodation, plus equipment hire makes vacationing rather costly.

Essential mobility equipment such as manual and powered wheelchairs are a huge expense!

Furthermore, my parents are affected physically (owing to many years of lifting and manual handling) and emotionally. Obviously they are aware of the fact that my condition is life-limiting, even though this is not discussed. When I am hospitalised, my whole family experience a great deal of distress.

Relationships are inevitably affected. At the age of 29, I still live with my parents in their home, and we are very much in each others pockets. They remain my primary source of support. I am unable to escape when disputes occur – to go for a walk or a drive in order to ease tension and let off steam. This I find incredibly frustrating.

What makes for a good community in regards to disability?

I’m really not sure how to answer this question. Sadly, I don’t think this can ever be fully achieved, as there will always be prejudice, ignorance and exclusion. I think crucially, there needs to be greater awareness, familiarity and education so that disability becomes part of the norm. We need to work in unity to break down barriers and make disability socially acceptable.

How do you feel about dating with a disability? Do you think it is harder when you’re disabled?

It is definitely harder with a disability – or so I have found. I think one of the biggest obstacles is the initial meet and greet stage.

We (disabled people) face assumptions, social prejudice and environmental limitations e.g. Access to buildings and public transport – thus making dating all the more challenging. Then there are our own physical limitations.

I am completely non-ambulant, I have contractures, a severe scoliosis and overall muscle degeneration. These physical limitations have made me overtly self-conscious, socially awkward and anxious when meeting new people.

#SayWhatYouThink: If you would like to share your own story as part of the Living Life to the Fullest project, being interviewed by a researcher about your experiences, please get in touch (k.liddiard@sheffield.ac.uk). See here for more information.

* We are publishing parts of Carrie’s story on this blog at her own request. 

Co-Researchers making headlines…

Our Living Life to the Fullest co-researcher Sally Whitney has recently been the focus of an article in the magazine Woman’s Own about her relationship with her assistance dog, Ethan. Sally says “I do these [magazine] pieces because for one it brings awareness to Canine Partners, but also it shows people that although living with serious ill health or disabilities may be hard and our lives stray from the original plans, they can still be full of joy – so it is a message of hope.”

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 17.32.26To read the full article, click here Sally Whitney PDF[2996].

To find out more about Canine Partners please see here. The issue of Woman’s Own featuring Sally’s story is out available to buy this week (w/c 8th May 2018). Watch our slide show of Ethan buying and reading Woman’s Own below…

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A picture of a woman in a wheelchair (Sally) with her assistance dog, Ethan.

Sally Whitney and Ethan

Arts Retreat 2018!

Excitingly, the Living Life to the Fullest project is gearing up to host its second Arts Retreat for young disabled people in May 2018. Our first one took place in October 2017 – it was featured on BBC Breakfast, which you can see here! Please check out our blurb below!

Are you a young person aged 8-18? Do you live with a life-limiting or life-threatening impairment (LL/LTI)? Would you like to take part in a two-day Arts Retreat where you can explore your experiences of disability and try and learn different art forms? 

If so, we at the Living Life to the Fullest project, in association with Purple Patch Arts, are hosting our next Arts Retreat on 29th and 30th May 2018, 10.00am – 3.00pm, at the Hillside Enterprise Centre, Leeds. Your lunch and any travel expenses will be paid for by the project; this goes for parents and carers too. If you would like a place, or have any questions, please contact Kirsty on k.liddiard@sheffield.ac.uk

Access: Accessible Blue badge parking; Changing Places accessible toilet; PA support. Please get in touch if you have any questions about access.

Purple Patch Arts logo

 

 

 

 

Co-Researcher Voices: Speaking Out

Excitingly, co-researcher Emma Vogelmann has just had an article published in Huffpost about the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal and the meaning of social media to disabled people. Emma offers a reflexive account of her own decision to leave Facebook in protest to Facebook’s actions. It’s a really insightful read that you can check out here!

  • Emma works as an Employability Officer at Muscular Dystrophy UK and is a rights activist.

Image of mobile phone

Exploring the world side by side

By Lucy Watts MBE and Kirsty Liddiard 

Lucy Watts MBE

Lucy Watts MBE and Molly

In this blog post, we share a revised/shortened version of  a conference paper given at a symposium hosted by the Institute for the Study of the Human (iHuman), Animal-Machine-Human: The place of disability, held on 10th October 2017 at the University of Sheffield. We originally co-wrote the paper through conversation. If you would like a copy of the full paper, please email k.liddiard@sheffield.ac.uk

Introducing Lucy and Molly…

We’d like to introduce you to Molly. Molly is a 5-year-old Dog A.I.D accredited assistance dog. Molly is also an Internet star, blogger (see her Facebook page, Molly, Dog with a Blog), friend and comrade to Lucy, and part-time Cocker Spaniel. In 2016, she was awarded an animal version of an MBE, an Order of Merit awarded medal that is ‘awarded to recognise animals that have shown outstanding acts of devotion and that symbolise the special relationship between animals and humans’ (PDSA 2016).

Lucy is a 24-year-old woman: an activist, campaigner, writer, and charity worker. In 2016, Lucy was awarded an MBE for her services to young disabled people. Lucy is also Lead Co-Researcher in our ESRC project, Living Life to the Fullest which, through the arts, is exploring the lives, hopes, desires and contributions of children and young people who live with impairments that are categorised as ‘life-limiting’ or ‘life-threatening’ (LL/LTI).

Day-to-day, Molly carries out a range of practical tasks with and for Lucy. Things like ‘picking up dropped items, undressing her, grabbing the post, loading and unloading the washing machine, pressing lift buttons, carrying items, and paying cashiers’ (Watts, 2017) – you name it and Molly and Lucy collaborate to make it happen. Past these seemingly mundane tasks, however, Molly also performs medical alerts. Through smell, Molly warns Lucy of body temperature changes, which for Lucy are an indication of life-threatening infections. Incredibly, Lucy says Molly will alert her 3-4 hours before her temperature spikes, by ‘incessantly licking my hands and arms’ (Watts, 2017). Molly also alerts Lucy when her blood pressure is dropping. In Lucy’s words, [Molly] ‘will do this by sitting or standing in my eye line, and staring at me, trying to make eye contact, or she may put her paws up on the arm of my wheelchair and stare straight into my eyes’ (Watts, 2017) – these are critical efforts that enable Lucy’s survival.

Outside of these practical and life-giving labours, for which both Molly and Lucy have been relentlessly trained – together, side-by-side: a partnership so carefully crafted – our focus in this post is to think about the intimacies that disability makes possible between animals and humans. We think that disability can bring animals and humans together into rare and intimate interdependencies not shared by many others. Through taking a look at Molly and Lucy’s world, and their relationships with and to disability, we suggest that their rare and unique bond shapes Lucy’s experiences of care and caring, social inclusion and access to the outside world.

 Rethinking Intimacy

In his book, The Two-in-One: Walking with Smokie, Walking with Blindness (1999: 9; you can read the introduction for free here) author Rod Michalko says of his relationship with his guide dog Smokie: ‘We are “person” and “dog” sharing a life together. We are human and animal living in the world and moving through it together’. Like Michalko and Smokie (1999), Lucy and Molly’s relationship is more than pragmatics and practicality (although we don’t deny that these are very important; see above). Instead, the two share a deep trust and bond that has sustained Lucy through the tumultuousness of her own life-limiting illness and uncertainty towards the future:

‘There are a few things I always think about when it comes to Molly and her love. One of these is that, to Molly, I am not disabled or sick, I am just ‘mum’. She loves me regardless. She loves me regardless of what mood I am in, how awful I look, and how much I lean on her for support – love is truly unconditional. It’s a powerful kind of love. And the thing is, they love you for who you are. Not disabled vs. non-disabled, not sick vs. healthy, not tall vs. short – they won’t care about all of that. They love you for who you are, all of you, without judgement, without exclusion. Molly sees past what a person would see when they look at me, and sees who I really am. That is so powerful’ (Watts, 2017).

‘…asking for help from a human carer I am forever apologising for what I need help with – to Molly, helping is a fun and rewarding game and she’s there in an instant (she never truly switches off), tail wagging, smile on her face and to Molly, the more help I need, the better the game! So I feel less of a burden asking help from my ever-faithful Molly than I do people’ (Watts, 2017).

While Lucy and Molly’s relationship is largely characterised by labour – e.g. they work together – Lucy’s latter account above reveals their relationship as a form of care very different to that which she experiences from humans. Lucy and Molly are able to understand and respond to each other’s needs in ways that alleviates Lucy from the emotional labours that can be part of receiving care as a disabled person – the being eternally grateful, the apologising, and the worrying about others, especially if our carer is also someone we love (e.g. a parent or family member).

‘Molly and I are enjoying exploring the world side by side’: Considering Public Space

 To move from the private to the public, then, Rod Michalko highlights the everyday reactions of (typically non-disabled) others as he and Smokie move through the social world together. While Michalko liked to play with inquirers – “Man on the street: is that one of those blind dogs?” Michalko: “Jeez, I hope not” – he identifies such curiosity as others trying to understand their identities as blind man and guide dog in a human sighted world.

Similarly, if we look to Lucy’s experiences, we can see that Molly’s presence mediates Lucy’s encounters with others in public – together they become a social subject. We don’t say this to position Lucy as less-than-human, of course, but to recognise the ways in which Lucy and Molly come together in public and how this togetherness is recognised by others – enabling particular kinds of social interactions, as Lucy stresses:

‘Prior to Molly, people were too scared to talk to me in fear of saying the wrong thing. I felt invisible, because people didn’t acknowledge my existence, except from staring at me from a distance. With Molly, however, people were coming up to me and instigating conversation. They’d ask me about my beautiful dog, and I quickly gained in confidence. Suddenly I was being stopped all the time by people; and I, too, found the confidence to strike up conversations with others. From the extremely shy girl I was, I was blossoming into someone who felt able to talk to others, to hold conversations with people I’d never met. I felt a part of society again, and that was all down to Molly’ (Watts, 2017).

While we must always trouble the idea of disabled people being humanised in the eyes of (non-disabled) others by animals, what is striking in Lucy’s account is the way Molly’s very presence enables a visibility and social inclusion that is deeply important to her. Molly mitigates much of the discrimination typically encountered by disabled people in public spaces – stuff like hostility, stares, rejection, and patronising attitudes’ that can make disabled people feel worthless, hassled, ignored or scared. Molly makes very meaningful the little time Lucy gets out in her local community due to illness. As Lucy said, ‘the four walls of my bedroom had become my prison; but my dog had set me free’.

We want to end this short piece by sharing that, following discussion with our Co-Researcher Collective of young disabled people, we have decided to ask young disabled people about their relationships with their assistance animals (or other animals) through the project. We are left wondering how the intimacies between disabled people and (assistance) animals might be especially valuable for children and young people with life-limiting and/or life-threatening impairments (LL/LTI), where there may be increasing needs for care, forms of support, and feeling safe and included. Fittingly, we end with Lucy’s words:

I owe her [Molly] an awful lot. My happiness, my purpose, my positivity, my zest for life, my fulfilment, my work, my life; I’d go so far as saying my existence. She’s changed my life beyond all recognition, but she’s saved it too – in more ways than one (Watts, 2017).

References

  • Liddiard, K (2018) The Intimate Lives of Disabled People.  Abingdon: Routledge
  • Michalko, R. (1999) The Two in One: Walking with Smokie, Walking with Blindness. Philadelphia: Temple University Press
  • Watts, L. (2017) A blog about life, illness and overcoming obstacles. Available from: http://www.lucy-watts.co.uk [Accessed 1/10/2017]