The theory that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away has always intrigued me, not least because it has always been proved true throughout my life. Whenever I meet someone new, they are always connected to me some how. Whether that is the fact they’re from St. Albans or support the Arsenal, I have found people who share at least one thing in common with me. The planet us humans call Earth is massive and Great Britain is only a minute island compared to other countries. That’s why, at times, it’s amazing that the world can seem oh so small.
Now, I don’t want to write a long anecdote about meeting someone from the St. Albans area while on holiday. I want to concentrate on disability and how that affects everyone. Even if you don’t know someone disabled personally, just by reading this blog you are getting insight and hopefully as a result feel connected. Most of my posts are prompted by an event and this is no different. On Monday, Liam Byrne MP (Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions) really struck a chord with me by delivering a thought-provoking speech at the Labour Party conference.
The shadow cabinet minister spoke about how “like most families in this country, I know that disability can affect anyone. Therefore it affects us all.” It’s true. No human being is immune to disability. Most people are lucky and don’t inherit a condition from birth. However, it only takes an accident of some sort to completely turn someone’s life upside down. Take Christopher Reeve as an example. The American actor played the role of Superman in 1978 and received glowing reviews. 7 years later, he fell off a horse and was paralyzed from the neck down, proving disability can strike anyone at anytime.
The fact that disability affects us all should always be remembered, particularly by the government. The person does not choose to be disabled; the disability randomly picks a target so therefore everybody is susceptible. You might own your house, have a well-paid job and have a partner. Then, disability comes along and puts a strain on everything in your life. Suddenly, your town house is not suitable, commuting to London everyday is not possible and your wife is finding it a chore to be married to a full-time wheelchair user.
What I’m saying is able bodied people need to be mindful about how lucky they are and shouldn’t forget disabled people or leave them out in the cold so to speak because, I don’t wish it on anyone but, you or a loved one could be disabled in the future. It’s just a fact of life.
Bye for now!