Posted on 24/12/2019

Looking back on 2019 and everyone who has shared their story with us

Looking back on 2019 and everyone who has shared their story with us

Throughout 2019 we have had the pleasure of working with and sharing the stories of some extraordinary people.

As the year comes to a close we’re looking back over 2019 and saying thank you to everyone who worked with us. Living with a health condition isn’t easy, but the people we worked with this year have shown us the power of their positivity, determination and honesty when addressing their condition or the condition of someone they love.

The growing voice of the online disability community in 2019

We have seen so many thriving communities online in 2019. Whether through blogs or social media, the online world has become a great place for people to share their experiences with a health condition or disability and connect with others who are going through similar experiences.

A supportive cancer community

In March 2019, we spoke to seven incredible women who had all faced experiences with cancer. Fi Munro, Sam Bramwell, and Stacey all told us their stories about living with, or having a family member with, ovarian cancer. They were passionate about raising awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms and encouraging women to talk to their doctors so that more can be diagnosed in the early stages.

We also spoke to Beth, Cara, Andrea and Kate who shared their personal experiences with bowel cancer. As well as working with cancer charities, such as cancer research and bowel cancer UK, their honest attitude about bowel cancer continues to help people be more open and talk more about health conditions which can be seen as a social “taboo”. Despite living through testing experiences, they continue to have a positive mentality and attitude that they share with the online world.

2019 Disability Power 100 list

We were thrilled to see a few familiar faces in the 2019 Disability Power 100 list, which selects 100 people who have made a positive impact and contribution to the disabled community over the year and are living with a disability or health condition themselves.

One of the 100 influencers to be chosen was Holly, author of the Life of a Blind Girl blog, who we were fortunate to work with back in July. Holly writes actively on her blog, as well as twitter , and is a strong advocate for breaking down barriers by promoting accessibility for people who are blind or partially sighted. She was also named the Social Media Influencer of the Year 2019 at the RNIB’s See Differently Awards for her admirable influence online.

Another familiar face was Anoushé Husain, a young woman who is an active member of the paraclimbing community in London and is passionate about helping to make sport more accessible for people living with a health condition or disability. We admired her determination and encouraging attitude, which is why we included her story in our Limb Loss article back in April. Anoushé was born without her hand and arm on her right side and is living with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, but she remains a force of positivity and an advocate for sport, disability and mental health. As well as being on the Disability Power 100 list, Anoushé also won the Rising Star in Women’s Sport Award at the Everything is Sport, Women Edition 2019.

Shared experiences

When writing about summer holiday reads back in June, we discovered Wendy Mitchell’s blog. Wendy was diagnosed with young onset dementia at the age of just 58 and to record her memories and experiences she started a blog called Which me am I today?, which was later developed into a bestselling memoir. She is helping to fight the stigma of dementia by sharing her own knowledge, experiences and positivity with the world, which has not only helped herself understand her condition better but also helped so many others who are feeling the impact of dementia. Wendy was kind enough to share some of her experiences with us for World Alzheimer’s Month this year.

2019 also introduced us to Jon, who runs his own YouTube channel titled Ability Street where he talks about “all things disability” including the condition he is living with called Hemiplegia Cerebral Palsy. As well as being well made, Jon’s videos are honest and informative and we look forward to seeing the further growth of his channel in the years to come. We also got to work with Lucy Mary and Annabelle who spoke to us about their experiences as young women with Cystic Fibrosis.

Emma, author of Simply Emma, was the feature of our festivals blog in August 2019, where we discussed disabled access at gigs and festivals around the UK. She has lots of great advice about travelling as a wheelchair user and shares her reviews of accessible travel experiences and music events.

We have also seen the great community that has rallied behind people who are raising money for charity. Karen Penny is one of the people we featured in our charity walks blog who is walking the coast of Britain and Ireland and has been documenting her experience on twitter and her blog. She has been continuously offered support from people online, some of whom have even offered her a place to stay as she continues her journey!

Care and carers in 2019

Care is such a fundamental part of our company but this year in particular, we have had an ever-growing involvement with the caring community. In February 2019, we decided to create a first-time family carer guide to help anyone who has suddenly become a carer understand more about what to expect as a first-time carer, where to find support and how to care for loved ones with dignity. Most recently, this has been shared by our friends at Carers Trust – a national charity we partnered with in October 2019 to help them in their mission to support unpaid carers across the UK. During the last 3 months, colleagues working across NRS have raised over £1800 by hosting a number of charity events and we hope to continue the momentum in 2020!

Later on in the year we had the pleasure of working with Chloe Rollings, who was named Young Adult Carer of the Year in 2018. Chloe became a carer suddenly in 2015 after her brother was injured playing football and had to balance her caring role with her university studies – at the time, not realising she was a carer. Since then, Chloe has graduated with a first-class degree, become a passionate voice for other young carers and helped to create support programmes for other carers in education.

Thank you!

All of the people featured on our blog have shared their own, often challenging, experiences to give support and advice to others who need it. We want to thank them all, not only those who are part of the online community but everyone who has shared their story with us in order to raise awareness of different conditions and help others. We hope that these stories of positivity and honesty will continue to spread awareness and help people to understand disabilities better.

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