The last few years have taught me a lot about myself. There have been some dark times for sure, but I have learnt so much about myself too, and that has been a good thing.
2020 also gave me plenty of time to reflect and in the absence of being able to do much at all, to make plans. Lots of plans. The last year has been a different kind of struggle, where many of my ‘weaknesses’ have been highlighted. That said, I have had time to think about how to study them, to work on them and to realise I can overcome them.
Raising awareness of hidden illness and disabilities has become incredibly important to me. Many years of study along with my own experiences of working in special needs education has show that a text book approach and attitude can often be taken in education settings and workplaces, as often hidden disabilities such as deafness are dismissed, particularly when they are not seen as severe. This is something that I hope to make a difference to. So, I have now set myself a new, rather ambitious goal; over the next 2 years I am going to challenge many of the hidden implications of living life beyond a brain tumour diagnosis.
I will be writing my second book to highlight the challenges caused by hidden illness and disabilities, but also to show that despite having them, we can still achieve. I want to show others that, with the right support, individuals can still achieve and share with readers how we develop strength and resilience in order to do this.
So, my latest crazy plan is this… The 2 Summits Challenge. Over the next two years (clearly dependent on all things Covid being resolved!), I want to climb two big summits, Mont Blanc (4,809 m), and the second highest African summit, Mount Kenya (5,199 m). Why? To prove not only to myself but also to others, that despite being left with half a vestibular system and ongoing associated balance issues, profound hearing loss, impaired vision and neuro fatigue, it CAN be done. Mount Kenya in particular, will be additionally challenging, as to reach the true summit a 20 pitch technical climb is necessary. At altitude I’ll be well and truly out of my comfort zone!
My second book, ‘How We Rise’ will document this journey, sharing the ups and downs of life with a brain injury and hidden disabilities, hopefully inspiring others to leave their comfort zone and push beyond their own perceived limitations, but I really need your support to make this a reality. You can find out more here.
I will be making huge efforts to document and film my journey along the way, covering training, nutrition, smaller goals I set myself as a way of getting closer to the bigger ones, the good days and the bad.
I’m really looking forward to you joining me on my 2 Summits journey.