Category Archives: Media

Photoshop Would Be Great, Thanks …

flumpI’m a teeny bit nervous, and for once it’s not down to discovering a Dreaded Brown Envelope from the DWP on my doormat.

Nor is it about waking up to several texts from The Teenager at Uni along the lines of,  ‘Mum, muuuum! Oi! Where are you?’

These are usually sent way past my bedtime so I don’t see them til the morning. I frantically text back, imagining all manner of horrendous possibilities, then curse when I eventually get a reply, ‘No probs, just fancied a pizza and had no money. Soz, Lolz.’

No, my nerves are simply down to having my photograph taken, quite possibly my least favourite activity of all time. I don’t have a good side. I don’t have a not-so-good side. I am just totally un-photogenic. From any angle, I resemble a Flump.

I’ve been made a Disability Wales ambassador for their campaign, #IAmEmbolden, and my role will be to encourage more deaf and disabled women and girls into further education. There will be a ceremony in the Welsh Government building in March, hence some photographs, which will be displayed on the day.

It’s a cause I’m really excited about, as I didn’t realise just how much support there is out there for people like me who need a little extra help with studying. Without it I certainly wouldn’t have completed my degree back when MS started and I absolutely would never have even contemplated taking a Master’s.

So, I’m starting to panic. I want to look calm and encouraging. What to wear? Sitting down or standing up? Hands clasped or at my side? Most importantly, how long can I suck both my stomach and my cheeks in?

I’ve heard about a few tricks – put your tongue on the roof of your mouth and it’ll give you cheekbones. Nope, it makes me look gormless. Be shot from above, and that way they won’t capture your double (triple) chin. Nope, I looked as if I’m trapped in a manhole.

Knowing my luck, I’ll end up posing like someone from one of those catalogues that fall out of the weekend newspapers – pointing at some far off place or pretending to laugh and point at the same time.

I’m putting my faith in Photoshop, in the hope they can tweak a few bits here and there. It’ll be a lot easier than wrapping my entire body in cling-film tonight, turning the heating up full blast and praying I lose 8lb.

As long as I don’t do my fish-face, I’ll be fine. I think.

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Join The #KickMS Movement!

AliceCan Do Multiple Sclerosis, a non-profit that provides health education programs for families with MS, launched their annual, online campaign that encourages people with MS, as well as their friends and supporters, to share how they #KickMS during September’s Can Do Month celebration.

The Can Do Month campaign honors and remembers the legacy of Can Do MS founder and Olympic ski medalist, Jimmie Heuga, on his birthday, September 22.

Jimmie pioneered the philosophy of health through exercise and nutrition, enabling those with MS to lead healthier lives.

“My father kicked MS by focusing on what he could do rather than what he could not,” says Blaze Heuga, Jimmie’s son. “Because of this, he was able to go beyond perceived limitations to live his best life with MS and empower thousands of others to do the same.”

The community can celebrate Jimmie’s can do spirit and inspire others by sharing how they live passionately through a photo, video, or mantra. #KickMS by running, painting, camping, laughing, cooking, travelling, loving, or anything you can do!

There are three easy ways to share how you #KickMS:

  • Submit your photo or video online at
  • Share your photo or video on the Can Do MS Facebook page using the hashtag #KickMS
  • Share your photo or video on your personal Instagram or Twitter account using the hashtag #KickMS (post must be set to public)
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The One Where I (Might) Dress Up As A Christmas Tree …

treeHere’s the thing.

I really, really want to fund-raise for MS.

But I don’t want to skydive, fire-walk, be silent for a day, climb a mountain or zip-wire. I’m not brave enough (or quiet enough).

So instead, I’ve decided to dress up as a wobbly Christmas tree and record a song.

My partner-in-crime is Dan, a fellow MS Society Council member. Every time we get together, we rework Christmas lyrics into songs about MS as, handily, the letters M and S both appear in ‘Christmas’. Bear with.

All we have to work out is where to record the song, who can record us for a short accompanying video and how we can unleash this on the public.

The filming part should be easy – I’ll be a Christmas tree and Dan can be a reindeer and we can lob snowballs and tinsel at each other (from the comfort of chairs, natch). Or we can be really cheesy and wear matching knitted Christmas sweaters and sit by a roaring log fire, toasting marshmallows and drinking eggnog. Sort of Val Doonican-esque.

And now it’s over to you guys. What do you think? Should I embarrass myself (and The Teenager) for life?

Can we raise vital funds and still keep our dignity intact?

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You Don’t Matter …

marchThere are 13 million disabled people in the UK, with 89% of them eligible to vote in the upcoming General Election.

13 million.

Have you heard any of the political parties address us and our needs directly during the election campaign?

Have you been overwhelmed with election promises about rolling back the savage cuts and stigma we have faced since the recession began way back in 2008?

Of course you haven’t. We don’t matter. Our purpose is purely as a scapegoat – when the chips are down, blame the people least likely to be able to fight back. It’s cheap but brutally effective. According to the tabloid newspapers, we all drive top-of-the-range free cars, doss around at home, unwilling to work and more than happy to leech off the state.

Yet this election is central to our future and we need to make our voices heard. A few facts:

  • 1 in 5 disabled people struggle to pay for food.
  • 1 in 6 wear a coat indoors as they are unable to afford heating.
  • The number of physically disabled people deemed homeless has increased almost 50% between 2010 and 2016.
  • Motability cars are being removed from disabled people at the rate of 700 a week – or 35,000 a year – due to reassessment from DLA to PIP.
  • 85% of people with MS will be unemployed within 10 years of diagnosis.

If I hear (No Saint) Theresa May appeal once more to ‘ordinary hard-working people’, I will scream. What is ordinary? Normal? What if I’m disabled and still work hard? Well, Theresa, I guess that makes me extraordinary, given the almost insurmountable barriers in my way.

At the last general election, I cornered one of our MP-hopefuls in the street as he was campaigning. I politely asked him what he was going to do about the disabled parking abuses rife in this area. He couldn’t get away quick enough. It’s a non-problem. I challenged someone who had parked, without a blue badge, in a supermarket car park on Monday at around 8am. His reply? ‘Disabled people don’t get up early, what’s your problem? Now **** off’.

It seems we face a battle on two fronts – being ignored by all the main political parties and the increasing hostility by the general public (whipped up to almost hysterical levels by the media, owned by billionaire political party donors).

I despair. Frankly, I’m worried.

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A Face For Radio …

micI was both overjoyed and terrified to be invited on to the BBC Radio Wales breakfast programme on Monday.

It would be a wonderful opportunity to speak about the short-fare taxi case I’d been involved in and the discrimination disabled people face, but it would also mean I would be speaking live to an awful lot of people.

A taxi collected me first thing; we passed a pleasant journey until he asked my why I was going to be on the radio. ‘Erm, it’s about a taxi driver. Bit awkward.’

At the BBC, I was issued a pass and told to wait. I spent the time admiring the huge Christmas tree and spotting semi-famous names rushing past me. I was then collected and taken to a holding area, overlooking the reception.

I struck up a conversation with Leanne Wood, the leader of Plaid Cymru, who had held her own alongside Nicola Sturgeon in the Brexit debates over the summer. She was waiting to appear on the ‘Victoria Derbyshire’ programme. She is quite possibly the most down to earth, friendly politician I have ever met, surpassing even the amazing Jens Stoltenberg, alongside whom I had marched with in Oslo in 1994 when Norway voted about whether to join the EU or not.

I was finally collected (the taxi was early) and taken to the radio studio and shown the host through a window. I was talked through what would happen. ‘Are you ready?’ they asked.

Erm, no? I was ushered into the main studio where the host chatted about me being on next. And this was it. I was live.

What happened next is a blur, but I listened back later in the day. I think I covered the main points and also mentioned the tricky issue of employment and MS, a real passion of mine. However, I was thrown a curveball when I was asked if I thought Brexit had made a difference to the level of discrimination disabled people face and whether it was acceptable for parents and children to park in disabled spaces.

After it was over, I had some thumbs-up from the staff, said goodbye and jumped in to a taxi back home. He asked me why I was there, and I replied, ‘oh, I was on the radio.’

‘What about?’


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