Earlier this year, Shaw Trust, a charity who strive to transform the lives of young people and adults across the UK announced that nominations were open for the 2018 Power List – an annual publication which started 4 years ago and lists 100 of the most influential disabled people in the UK. People were asked to nominate individuals with a disability who they regard as influential and inspirational.
I have quite a long list of people with disabilities who I regard as both of the above so I took the time to nominate those people but I also promoted the fact that nominations were open on my social media, not expecting anything to come of it because I knew that there were so many people who deserved to be on that list and I didn’t believe that someone like me would ever make the cut, I didn’t expect anyone to nominate me if I’m honest and no, that’s not me being modest.
Quite a few months passed by and I hadn’t heard anything so I assumed that I hadn’t been chosen, not expecting to be anyway. But, a couple of months ago, on a Sunday afternoon, I received an email by one of the lovely people who works alongside the charity during the publication process, telling me that they had chosen me, yes ME, to be included in this year’s Power List and that I would be named as one of the UK’s most influential disabled people for 2018. It’s safe to say that it took a while to sink in.
The team had written a lovely biography about me to include in the publication, information they were given from those who nominated me and from what they had researched themselves about who I am, what I do and all that jazz. Knowing that someone had taken the time to say such lovely and thoughtful things about me was so incredibly heartwarming for me and I’m so grateful to anyone who took the time to nominate me – Thank you so much if you were one of those people.
A few weeks later, I received an invitation to the publication’s launch event in London. I was allowed to bring a guest so my brother very kindly said that he’d come along with me since our parents were both working.
After making all the arrangements, we travelled down to London on Wednesday (17th October) in order to attend the event. We had to stay overnight since there were no trains coming home after about 9 o’clock, the struggles of living in Wales. We checked into our hotel and got ourselves ready for the event, reapplying my makeup was an essential after a journey on the tube.
We hopped into a taxi and headed towards the Southbank Centre where the launch event was taking place and despite the taxi dropping us off at the wrong location, we finally made it to the event, 35 minutes late mind but better late than never. (I think that might be pushing the ‘fashionably late’ boundary but we’ll go with it).
A disabled photographer was giving a speech when we arrived and then the top 10 in the list were announced with TV presenter Alex Brooker being named as number 1, he gave a speech and then we got the opportunity to chat to everyone else in the room. There was a great atmosphere and you could tell that everyone was really proud to be a part of such an incredible list of people.
My brother and I spent the rest of the evening with Holly and her parents and we also met fellow blogger Chloe who also made it on to the list. It was so lovely to finally meet her in person after reading her blog for such a long time.
There were a couple of other people who I would’ve loved to have met at the event but didn’t get the chance to unfortunately but it was still a lovely evening and the room was filled with so many inspiring people who are all so deserving of being included in the 2018 list.
I’d like to congratulate Shaw Trust for hosting such a great event and congratulations to everyone else who’s included in this year’s power list.
The list aims to highlight the amazing things people with disabilities can do in the hope of giving motivation and encouragement to the next generation. It’s such an honour for me to be included alongside people like Alex Brooker, Jonnie Peacock and Warwick Davies, just to name a few. The list consists of actors, comedians, paralympians, OBE’s, MBE’s and bloggers, all of which I look up to and admire and the fact that I’m included alongside them this year creates a feeling that I can’t put into words.
My brother and I left after saying our goodbye’s to Holly and her parents and we went for a meal at a nearby restaurant which was lovely. We then spent Thursday browsing Selfridges and a few other shops on Oxford Street before heading home late evening.
I’m still amazed that I’ve made it on to this year’s power list but I’m so incredibly honoured and humbled.
Raising awareness of disability, educating people and helping others who might be in a similar situation to me is something that’s incredibly important to me, it’s one of the main reasons I write my blog and the fact that the things I write and the work I do with other charities has now been recognised as ‘influential’ is really quite surreal for me.
I used to be an incredibly shy person and I still am in some situations, talking about my vision impairment and how it affects me wasn’t something that came easy for me. I had no confidence when talking about it and it wasn’t something I felt comfortable opening up much about. But now, I’m proud that I’ve been able to change that and that I now have a platform to share my story, raise awareness, educate, motivate and most importantly, help others. I used to feel like I didn’t have a voice but over the past three years, since starting my blog, that mindset has changed and I’ve found the strength to talk openly about my experiences with sight loss.
I have now found my voice and the fact that has been recognised through my inclusion in the 2018 disability power list is something that motivates me even further, something which I’m incredibly grateful for. My 16 year old self would have never of believed that anything like this would be possible, it goes to show that things can change and if, like my 16 year old self, you find yourself in a place where you don’t believe much in yourself or your abilities, you should know that with a little determination, encouragement and inspiration, you can reach your goals and sometimes, even more than you ever thought possible.
I wouldn’t be where I am today without the incredible support of my family and friends and you lovely lot who take the time to read my posts and support my blog. So, to those of you who continue to support and believe in me, thank you so much ❤️
This week has been a crazy one, full of emotions, some happy, some sad and I have to admit that I did shed a few tears whilst writing this post because it has reminded me of how far I’ve come and that despite all of the hurdles and challenges that need to be overcome, it’s still possible to achieve amazing things.
It’s achievements like this and the lovely feedback I receive from so many people that remind me that I must be on the right track.
Congratulations again to everyone who is included in this year’s power list and to every other disabled person out there who are working hard to raise awareness and make a change. It’s a real privilege for me to be included in such an empowering list alongside such amazing, talented people who all strive to change perspectives of disability and make the world a more accessible place.
If you fancy reading the full list of people included in the 2018 Disability Power 100 list then you can do so here. I’m on page 72 so keep an eye out for me!
Thank you so much again to everyone who takes the time to support me, my blog and anything else I do in any way, it truly does mean a lot and it’s something that motivates me even further to continue doing what I’m doing.
All there’s left to do now is celebrate!
What are your thoughts on this year’s Disability Power List? Are you or anyone you know included within it? I’d love to hear from you.