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Evie’s story: Breaking down barriers, Boccia and Disability History Month

A young women sits on a wheelchair in the garden
05 December 2023

“We break down barriers – and if they can’t be broken down, we find another way!”

These are Evie’s words, who’s been cared for at Sheffield Children’s and recently joined our Youth Forum. She wrote a piece about her experiences as part of Disability History Month, and we were so impressed with it that we wanted to share it with you all.

As part of the Youth Forum, 16-year-old Evie is helping to make things better at Sheffield Children’s by contributing her experience and ideas. The Forum meet monthly and work throughout the year on things such as reviewing strategies, sitting on interview panels, reviewing the ways services work, providing feedback and getting stuck in on making changes to the Trust too – such as visiting departments and different sites to planting flowers/building a bee hotel in our hospital garden! And on that note, we’ll let Evie take it from here.

“I have faced a lot of barriers but the main ones are accessibility – as I have complex physical disabilities – and I’m also out of education. I try and remember to be patient with myself, and proud of myself too. We break down the barriers – and if they can’t be broken down, we find another way!

“My difficulties give me a unique perspective of the world in both positive and negative ways. It is hard sometimes dealing with issues like people assuming I don’t have capacity because I have a significant physical disability, struggle with my speech and can display autistic behaviours.

A young woman in a wheel chair rolls a ball down a ramp in a game of boccia.“However, I’m proud of the little things like getting up every day, but bigger ones too like bringing awareness to disabilities on my social media, challenging myself to do things I find hard like playing the adaptive sport Boccia, and making art. I’ve always had some of my disabilities but it’s only in the last few years that I have had much more significant physical and medical needs. It’s been hard to deal with this change but it has made me appreciate things even more and take every day as it goes. And to make the most of everything because you don’t know when you may not be able to do that again.

“My advice to others who have disabilities is believe in yourself and find others similar to you. It really helps to have friends who understand your struggles.”

Thank you Evie, we really appreciate all you’re doing for our Youth Forum!

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