Disabled In…Updates

It’s not the silly season just yet

HRHletter

So working my way through a bunch of post last week in my mail box and I was rather stunned to see a letter postmarked EIIR.

And then on closer inspection ‘Buckingham Palace.’

OMG!

A letter from the Royals.

I’d forgotten about the letter I’d handed over to one of the Royal staff at my Dad’s investiture. And I hadn’t really expected an answer.

But as my old boss at AP used to say: No ask-ie, no get-tie. So I asked and I got.

What did I ask? For William and Harry to support my blog on disability, given the work they do with disabled groups – Harry especially with Invictus Games.

I didn’t get quite what I asked. A polite: We can’t, because then we’d have to do it for every request.

So not quite By Royal Appointment just yet 😦

But that doesn’t mean Harry @KensingtonRoyal and William @DukeCambridgeUK can’t follow my blog on Twitter @tvsteph does it guys???

Back to Africa

Anyway as it’s holiday time, later this month I’m going back to Kenya – as I want to see some wildlife in the wild.

I won’t just be watching wildebeest on migration though, I’ll also be looking at what life is like for the  wheelchair bound there.

Remember my blog about Australian charity Wheelchairs For Kids?

I’m going to be looking at what it’s like to receive a wheelchair. I’ll be hooking up with Worldvision and hopefully Pek Care International to see their wheelchair distribution programmes.

And of course I’ll be taking a look at disabled facilities in some of the places I’ll be staying. Some will be brand new, others already tried and tested. Watch out for my reviews.

I also hope to catch up with Kenya’s MS Society chairman Kimani Kamau on what’s been happening with those guys since their inaugural meeting last year. If #MS is rare in Malaysia, it’s even rarer in Africa.

Doctors are only just starting to recognise the illness there. And with the price of medication so astronomical, treatment is probably out of reach for the vast majority of people.

It’s another potential Vitamin D link. Because most African skin is dark it can’t manufacture enough Vitamin D – thought to be linked in someway to the illness. I touched on that in my doco.

And finally…

Last update from me for now. The Star newspaper in Malaysia featured a nice piece about me and my adventures in a wheelchair and having MS. Hopefully it will help kick start my consultancy into action.

See ya back in August

 

 

 

Disabled in the Palace…

Buckingham Palace, that is…

buckhouse

I wouldn’t aim to post so soon after my last Blog, but watching the Queen’s carriage cross the forecourt of Buck House this morning on her way to the House of Lords for the State Opening of Parliament, I couldn’t help but think: I was right there wheeling over the gravel just last week.

I was there to see my father receive a MBE award for his work campaigning for pensioners affected by the Equitable Life financial scandal.

Right now I can’t perceive a reason why I might ever return, so this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. And how wheelchair friendly would the Palace be?

I’ve politely declined the offer of a Royal wheelchair,  figuring my own personal Royal seat would be more comfortable.

As my wheelchair makes tracks across the pink gravel my Royal assistant tells me one of the groundsmen has spent time raking it neatly that morning (and it was only 9.30am)

Maybe you could tarmac it? I comment.

Maybe, but I don’t think the boss would be too pleased, he replies.

There’s a small step up to the doorway and there’s a slight step but a row of ramps ready and waiting. I’m not the only wheelchair user here today.

There are 90 recipients this morning and each awardee can bring three guests.

Once inside I’m diverted away from the Grand Staircase. I’m going up the servant’s stairwell fitted with a wheelchair lift. I’m sceptical. It reminds me of the contraption at the consulting rooms of my London Neurologist in Queens Square (also at the backdoor because the building has listed building status).

Now here is where disability gets you a rare bonus. Front row seats to the Investiture. So close I can hear the conversation the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William is having with each honoree.

I’m lined up in front of the Equerry where the next recipient stands while William is talking to the current one.

It means I’ll be in every shot of the video being made of the event. Sorry folks. 🙂

William’s chatty today and spends several minutes talking to everyone. Cyclist Chris Froome is the ‘celebrity’ in today’s list with an OBE for services to cycling, so some two and a half hours after being wheeled into the State Room I’m in urgent need of the Royal ‘throne’. Non-Brits please look up the slang.

We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, so here’s a shot after the ceremony was over, with my Dad and sister. A magical day.

outside

 

I’m happy to say the facilities were exemplary. And if her Majesty can get it right there’re no excuses elsewhere people. I now know the meaning of the Royal We… 😉

And on the way out…

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