Category Archives: Disability

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – June 2023

Diabetes Awareness Week runs from 12 – 18 June and with this in mind we have chosen Adam Smith as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Adam is a Sky Sports presenter whose roles include hosting his own weekly show Saturday Social as well as presenting Kings of the Premier League on Friday evenings and The Debate.

He also conducts regular weekly interviews with some of the biggest names in the Premier League as well as co-hosting regular shows on TalkSport radio.

Adam has also hosted a string of live events including presenting KSI vs Logan Paul from Los Angeles, the opening ceremony for the first ever game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and hosting a special one off event for Queen Elizabeth’s 90th Birthday at Windsor Castle.

Adam is a Celebrity Support for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2015 and says it has “completely changed his life”. Adam has a large fan base on social media and has supported several of JDRF’s campaigns, including the type 1 myth-busting campaign during Diabetes Week and the BBC Lifeline Appeal. He is committed to raising awareness of type 1 diabetes, to dispel any stigma and misinformation about the condition and to help JDRF support and inspire everyone in the type 1 community.

Find out more about Diabetes Awareness Week see here https://www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetes-week

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – April 2023

April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and with that in mind we have chosen Vicky Fleetwood as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Vicky is a woman of many talents; a former junior hurdler, a personal trainer and a Rugby World Cup winner. She was also part of England’s bronze medal winning sevens squad in the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast, she is also a diet and nutrition adviser

Vicky began playing at age 14 after tiring of watching her brother play. She moved to Saracens from Lichfield after the Women’s World Cup in 2014, where she made six appearances. Despite making her Red Roses debut in August 2011 at the age of 21, Vicky had raced to 50 caps by July 2015. She played the 2017 Women’s World Cup and made three appearances off the bench including in the final against New Zealand. Vicky moved to the England Sevens programme for a year in 2017/18 but in 2019 she returned to XVs. She also played in the Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam win that year. She was unavailable for England’s 2019 Super Series campaign due to injury but returned for the start of 2019/20. Vicky was named ‘Player of the Match’ in November’s Quilter International against Italy and shone in the 2020 Six Nations, crossing against Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

She is currently also the Director of Rugby at Old Colfeians Rugby Club in Lee South East London.

Vicky is a Patron for Bowel Cancer UK, she is determined to help raise awareness of the symptons having lost her mother to the disease in 2016 at the age of 62.

To find out more about Vicky see here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Fleetwood To find out more about Bowel Cancer Awareness Month see here https://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – January 2023

World Braille Day is on 4 January and with this in mind we have chosen Nigel Limb as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Nigel is an Ambassador for the Wilberforce Trust a charity dedicated to helping those with visual impairment, sight loss, hearing loss and other disabilities across Yorkshire.

He lost most of his sight following a motorbike racing accident in 2015.

His wife was told that an MRI scan had revealed that Nigel had severe brain damage and would most likely die from his injuries within the next few days or be left in a vegetative state. The consultant requested permission to turn off his life support machine and his wife asked if it could be left on over the weekend while she got ready to say goodbye.

Then, on Monday, he woke up. The crash had caused major sight loss and Nigel had to face the loss of his business running a garage and as a floating MOT Tester. There were some tough times ahead. Despite his sight loss, you couldn’t keep Nigel off a bike for long. He had the skill, he had the muscle memory and when Scunthorpe Speedway invited him to get back on a bike he completed six laps to tremendous applause.

For the Wilberforce Trust, Nigel is an amazing Ambassador. He is living proof that life doesn’t end when you lose your sight. It doesn’t have to mean the end of your hopes and dreams and your passion for your favourite hobby. With the right support and adaptation, life can still be full of fun and happiness as well as the challenges and frustrations that come with any disability.

Now known as the “Blind Bloke Racing” Nigel has made a documentary with his wife Julie about their experience and he has appeared at different biker’s events telling his story. Being a fantastic role model for visually impaired people was never Nigel’s plan but he has shown by his example, his courage and his determination that he can bring hope to other people facing sight loss.

To find out more about Nigel see here https://www.wilberforcetrust.org.uk/

To find out more about world Braille day see here https://www.un.org/en/observances/braille-day

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – December 2022

International Day of Persons with Disabilities is on 3 December.  With that in mind we have chosen Kevin Sinfield as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the month.

Kevin is a former rugby league player, captain and Director of Rugby for Leeds Rhinos who he spent his entire career playing for.  He captained Leeds to seven Super League Championships and two Challenge Cup successes.  He holds the record as the highest points scorer in Super League history, the third highest points scorer in British rugby league history and is Leeds’ record points scorer. He also represented England and Great Britain.  His last match was in the 2015 Super League Grand Final captaining Leeds to victory.

In 2021 Kevin became the defence coach of the Rugby Union side Leicester Tigers following his retirement from playing union for Yorkshire Carnegie.

His great friend Rob Burrow was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2019, he and Kevin played together for Leeds Rhinos for many years, since then Kevin has been raising money for MND through various challenges the latest one (which has just finished) was to run 7 Ultra Marathons in 7 days.  He started in Edinburgh and finished at Old Trafford during the Rugby League Mens World Cup Final.  The route covered locations that resonated with Rob, ex footballer Stephen Darby and former Rugby Union player Doddie Weir who all have MND.  The funds raised will be shared between 5 charities supporting people impacted by the condition.  To date the challenge has raised £1,350,000.

In 2014 Kevin was awarded an MBE for services to rugby league and an OBE in 2021 for services to rugby league and charitable fund raising.

To find out more about Kevin see here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Sinfield

To find out more about MND see here https://www.mndassociation.org/ To find out more about International Day of Persons with Disabilities see here https://www.un.org/en/observances/day-of-persons-with-disabilities

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – November 2022

World Diabetes Day is 14 November and with that in mind we have chosen Dominic Littlewood as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Dominic is a British journalist and television presenter who specialises in consumer protection. He is best known for his roles with BBC and 

Channel 5, presenting programmes such as Fake Britain, Cowboy Builders and Bad Builders: Bang to Rights.

Since 2016 he has presented Dom on the Spot on BBC On and he has appeared in other television shows including To Buy or Not to BuyHoliday and The One Show.  In 2007 Dom took part in Strictly Come Dancing and in 2020 he appeared on Celebrity Masterchef.

He also writes for Top Gear Magazine and the Motoring Section of the Daily Telegraph and is an expert on used Nissan Qashqais and Jukes.

Dominic is diabetic, having been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes as a child, he has lived with Type 1 Diabetes for 40 years and in that time has had as many as 20,000 hypos.  He is a supporter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

To find out more about World Diabetes Day see here https://worlddiabetesday.org/

To find out more about the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation see here https://jdrf.org.uk/

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – September 2022

World Alzheimer’s Month is the international campaign every September to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia. The campaign was launched in 2012 and World Alzheimer’s Day is on 21 September each year.

With that in mind we have chosen Jim Broadbent as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Jim is an actor, graduating from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in 1972.  He first came to prominence in television comedy in shows such as Only Fools and Horses and Time Bandits with his breakthrough role coming in Mike Leigh’s Life is Sweet.  His notable roles since then include Bridget Jones’ Diary, Hot Fuzz, The Iron Lady, Game of Thrones to name just a few.  He has played Horace Slughorn in the Harry Potter film series and Samuel Gruber in the amazing Paddington films.

He has received many awards including an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in Iris, a BAFTA for Moulin Rouge and Longford and an Emmy for The Gathering Storm.

He was awarded an OBE in 2002 but declined stating that there were more deserving recipients than actors and that the British Empire was not something he wanted to “celebrate”.

Jim is an Ambassador for Dementia UK and in 2018 presented a BBC Lifeline Appeal, in which he spoke movingly about his own mother’s experience of dementia, as well as highlighting the life-changing support that the Dementia UK specialist nurses are able to offer families facing dementia – in communities, GP practices, hospitals, care homes and hospices, and on the Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline.

To find out more about Alzheimers’ Month see here https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-involved/world-alzheimers-month

To find out more about Dementia UK see here https://www.dementiauk.org/

To find out more about Jim see here https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000980/bio  

‘Inclusive Barbies are a major step in my life’

“It’s a major step in the toy industry and in my life. It made me feel proud of who I was.”

James Stewart is among those celebrating the new Barbie dolls that are being released today.

Mattel, the company that makes them, has released a range of more diverse dolls.

For the first time, Barbie is seen with a hearing aid, a prosthetic limb and a wheelchair, while a Ken doll has the skin condition vitiligo.

James, who has the skin condition, says it “felt quite surreal” to hold. More

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – August 2022

International Youth Day is on 12 August and with that in mind we have chosen Meghan Willis as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Meghan, at 14 years old, is the youngest member of Wales’ para swimming squad for this year’s Commonwealth Games being held in Birmingham.

Meghan will race the SM10 200 metre individual medley for swimmers with upper limb deficiencies and has risen rapidly in the last year, qualifying as one of the top eight swimmers in the Commonwealth in her event.

She helps other young people with upper limb deficiencies through her work with the charity Reach and is determined to inspire others to become active through sport and live their lives without limits. 

She is also a young water safety ambassador for the Swimming Teachers Association (STA) promoting ability over disability.

To find out more about Reach see here

https://reach.org.uk/ .

To find out more about Para Swimming and the Commonwealth Games see here

https://www.birmingham2022.com/sports/swimming

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – July 2022

Disability Awareness Day is on 17 July and with that in mind we have chosen Francesca Martinez as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the month.

Francesca is a comedian and disability campaigner.  As a comedian, she has toured internationally, including sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Festival, the Melbourne Comedy Festival and the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal.

As a campaigner, she spent a year getting the 100,000 signatures required to trigger a debate in Parliament on welfare reform and its effect on disabled people. Using her award-winning humour, Francesca, who has cerebral palsy, talks passionately about facing fear, the profound power of positive thinking, gaining the right perspective and questioning society’s values in her critically acclaimed memoir, What the **** is Normal?!, which was nominated for The Bread and Roses Radical Publishing Award.

As a youngster she was a regular in the BBC children’s drama Grange Hill, becoming one of the first disabled actors to have a significant role on a popular TV programme. In November 2016, she was the guest curator at Sheffield’s Off The Shelf Festival of Words, which featured a day of inspirational talks and events. She also teamed up with Network Rail to launch a new campaign to improve disabled passengers’ experiences of travelling by rail. Another recent highlight for was supporting Frankie Boyle on tour.

For International Women’s Day Able Magazine published their top 10 most influential women with a disability which included Francesca.  She is patron of a number of charity including the Misfits Theatre Company.

To find out more about Francesca see here https://www.francescamartinez.com/bio

To find out more about Disability Awareness Day see here

https://www.disabilityawarenessday.org.uk/show/

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – June 2022

This year Diabetes Week runs from 13 – 19 June and with this in mind we have chosen Muhammad Ali as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Muhammad is a professional boxer and on 19 May 2018 he made boxing history after becoming World’s first type1 diabetic to be granted a professional licence by the British Boxing Board of Control.

As an amateur Muhammad boxed at the 2016 Olympics, 2015 World Championships and the 2014 World Youth Championships where he won a silver medal.  His ambition is to become the first diabetic boxing world champion.

Muhammad says this about his diabetes:

“Diabetes is a condition, not an illness; I’m just like any other ordinary person. Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass by but learning to weather the storm. One day I’d love to say I lived by diabetes”.

Muhammad is an ambassador for Diabetes UK, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the International Diabetes Federation.

To find out more about Muhammad see here https://www.muhammadaliboxing.com/

To find out more about Diabetes Week see here https://www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetes-week