Hello there! I've had a great few weeks, been very busy, but have really enjoyed doing all sorts. Starting a couple of weeks ago with a visit to the school of a six year old girl who has had a spinal cord injury and is now a wheelchair user. This is part of my volunteer role as Back Up School's Advocate which I was trained for last year. It was my first time being active in this role, having been away in America, but I was really excited to start out.
I prepared a presentation in which I explained (in a light hearted way; suitable for their young age) about the spinal cord, how it can be injured and what the side effects can be. I wanted to get across that it can be very hard for all involved when it happens, but that life can still be lived to the fullest. After explaining the facts and using an activity to demonstrate a spinal cord injury, I told them my story, illustrated by pictures of some of my adventures. The children responded really well and asked some sensible and thoughtful questions despite only being in year one! The girl with the spinal cord injury struck me as very determined and I have little doubt that their injury will stop them getting where she wants to in life.
I finished off the presentation by reading out a poem that one of my colleagues wrote when she was ten years old after she'd had a spinal cord injury. I really like it and think its pretty inspiring; particularly given how young she was.
I also went on the first Access Adventures waterski camp of the summer which was brilliant. There were a few people I knew that hadn't tried waterskiing before who came down and well and truly got the bug! It definitely has that effect on people and it was really inspiring to see how much people were enjoying it and making some good progress. I've now started wakeboarding which I am loving - my next challenge is to nail a 360!
I can't get enough of waterskiing and wakeboarding: it fuels my need for adrenaline, is very helpful for skiing, and I love hanging out by the lake - it's a nice break from busy London and there are some great people down there. Each time I come back buzzing - I've become a bona fide adrenaline junkie! I urge anyone who's interested (disabled or otherwise) to come and try it out! See bdwsa.org for more information
Alongside working and wakeboarding I've had a few training sessions up at Snozone in Milton Keynes with the Pathways team of ParaSnowsportGB. We've been practicing slalom because the run is too short to do anything longer and although I find it the most challenging due by my level of injury - T3/4, because my lack of core makes it harder to turn more quickly, I'm finding it really helpful and can't wait to get back on real snow to see a real improvement. On Saturday Sean Rose (Paralympian, TV pundit and all-round superstar) came to give us some coaching which was brilliant and really helpful. As well as being pretty inspiring to watch the speed with which he took the course!
FInally, I have been talking to the coaching staff at British Parasnowsport and have some exciting news. I'm going to keep you in suspense as nothing's official yet but stay tuned and I'll update when it is. ;-)