Have you heard that the hashtag, #ThingsDisabledPeopleKnow, has gone viral? As someone with a disability, I’ve learnt several life hacks that make daily tasks a little bit easier. You’d be amazed how useful a spatula becomes when you only have one functional arm. I also know exactly how much I need to drink before nature will call which means that I’m rarely caught short and I have a bladder made of steel. Although, if you make me laugh, be prepared to haul me onto the loo as a matter of urgency.
There’s loads that disabled people want to tell the world; like what their condition is, how it affects them, and how they use quirky strategies to get through life. Sometimes though, it can go too far – getting to the point where they’re just shouting about why life owes them a favour. The problem is that because we’re classed as a minority group, people generally take what we say on face value, either because they lack the knowledge or because they’re too scared to disagree in case we form an army and hunt them down. From that comes the founding of charities standing up for the rights of disabled folks. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for every charity that stands up for the inclusion of ‘us’, but many are so extreme in their quest to be heard that it seems as though they want Everest to be flattened in order for the wheelie-people to climb to the top.
When I said I was going to put on a charity ball and do a sponsored walk, picking the beneficiaries was tricky. For sure, I needed to support my own kind, but I didn’t want to fundraise for organisations that, I felt, inadvertently extenuated the ‘us and them’ situation everyone is fighting against. I wanted to back a charity which celebrated individuality of all varieties and integrated that into their vision. No place does that better than Lincoln Drill Hall.
As a theatre, the Drill Hall is passionate about providing a platform where local talent can be nurtured, showcased and enjoyed, regardless of ability, or disability. I know. You hear those words come out of every spokesperson’s mouth. But in this case, it’s true. They’ve hosted pantomimes that have a fully integrative cast, the disability orientated disco, Butterfly Club, as well as being fully accessible and inclusive with all of their events and performances. I’m not their publicist, but you should check them out.
Another thing that disabled people know is how frustrating life can be – especially when you don’t have a spatula to hand. In all seriousness, sometimes people; disabled or not, find themselves in really dark places and just need a chat with someone neutral to off-load some of the pressures that are weighing them down. We’ve all experienced it, whether personally or through someone we know, and it’s vital that a support system is there. Which is why the second beneficiary is the Samaritans.
The Samaritans are just a phone call away at any time of the day or night, but their work doesn’t stop there. They reach out to all areas of the community, from schools and workplaces to prisons and more, to educate people that it’s okay not to be okay, provide coping strategies, and training courses for employers, teaching them to effectively deal with any issues that may arise. You’ll also find them at social venues, music festivals and local community events, making them accessible and available at all times and in all situations, thus reinforcing that mental health should not be a taboo subject.
I know these two charities seem entirely disconnected to be the combined beneficiaries of a fundraiser, but when you think about it, they compliment each other well. Lincoln Drill Hall provides an outlet for creativity and expression which is good for the soul, and the Samaritans provide a more specialised service with specific areas of expertise. Together, they keep us nicely ticking over.
So, Written Wheelies, save the date. On Saturday 9th November at 7pm, the Bentley Hotel will help us throw a shindig to end all shindigs in the form of a Masquerade Ball. I warn you now though, I might be arriving in a matchbox because at some point in May (date TBC) I’ll be persuading all four of my dysfunctional limbs to do a sponsored walk, with the help of Lee Johnston at Elite Fit, Skegness, to quite literally get the ball rolling. I know I’ve not given you much information at this point, but I promise I’ll keep you up to date with dates, ticket sales, and sponsorships.
Speak to you soon.
Photo credits: Lincoln Drill Hall and Samaritans