30 Years in the Making..
In 1990 I joined Fairfield Phab. From the moment I stepped inside the old St John’s Community Centre for the very first time. I knew it was a place I wanted to be. As a kid with Cerebral Palsy I attended mainstream education. I was 13 when I first met other disabled kids and it had quite a profound effect on me. I realised quickly how lucky I was to have parents that didn’t treat me differently due to my disability. My parents never stopped me from doing things and just allowed me to be a kid. Whilst at secondary school I started using a wheelchair on a regular basis. As a 13 year old kid, I just took things in my stride. At school, I soon became known as the kid in a wheelchair. I did find it more difficult to fit in at times when I started using a wheelchair. Even some friends that I’d known since I was about 5 started to treat me differently. When I joined Phab it felt like my disability wasn’t a factor. I wasn’t the kid in the wheelchair anymore, I was just me. The friends I made at Phab, and indirectly through Phab remain friends some thirty years later. My time as a member of Phab certainly made me realise that my disability shouldn’t stop me from chasing my dreams. In 1996, due to unforeseen circumstances, Fairfield Phab closed its doors for the final time. By then, I had already started working during the summer at various kids playschemes across Liverpool and it was something I enjoyed. I also joined the Kids Club Staff at St John’s Community Centre, which meant I was able to keep in touch regularly with many Phab friends. The friends I made from the time Phab closed through to starting University in 1998 are some of my closest friends today. It was these friends that inspired me to apply to Camp America in 2001. Due to my disability and my experiences at Phab I applied to work at a special needs Camp. I spent the summer of 2001 in Alabama working at Camp Ascca, which is the largest Camp of its kind in the United States that caters for kids and adults with disabilities. After spending three awesome summers at Camp Ascca, it is like a second home to me.
In 2008 I founded Phab Liverpool with several friends from the original Fairfield Phab, it felt like my Phab journey had come full circle, from becoming a member in 1990 to becoming a Phab Club Leader in 2008. My journey didn’t stop there though and in 2014 I was appointed as a Trustee of Phab Limited, a role I occupied for five years. From being a Trustee of Phab Limited it is clear to see the impact that Phab has on the lives of others. It has certainly had a majorly positive impact on my life. Phab has played an integral role in my life for thirty years. To be able to create opportunities for other disabled people and to ensure we have a positive impact on their life is inspiring. My philosophy has always been a disability isn't an inability and shouldn't stop you from making the most of life. Phab certainly helped me live by this philosophy and for that alone, i will always be eternally grateful.