To get a real sense of what it is like for a person with a disability who is wheelchair dependent you would have to put yourself in their shoes for a day. Not many people would actually do this but we have found an incredible student from Durham University who is taking up that challenge and would like you to join him. Chris Donovan is challenging himself whilst raising awareness and funds for the charity. Here is why….
I am a second year International Relations and Philosophy Student who is currently planning a project to raise awareness of disability and raise money for a local children’s charity, Heel & Toe. The idea ‘For A Day Durham’ is that people get to experience what it is like to be disabled in today’s community.
Around 5 years ago I made a list of all the things I would like to do in life however some of the list was somewhat unlikely to achieve. ‘Play 3rd violin in the Russian Philharmonic’ was something that was never going to happen, considering I don’t yet play the violin. So on my 30th birthday, this year, I decided to make a new list, which was more achievable. Included in this list was to experience what it is like to be blind for a day. From this I started to develop the idea of what it would be like to experience any disability for a prolonged period. Would I be able to get ready for work, dress and wash myself if I was in a wheelchair or only had one arm. As an abled bodied person I take so much for granted and yet whinge when I have a slight lower back pain. Hence I decided to develop the idea and get in touch with Heel and Toe. Since then the idea has snowballed and we have the backing of many institutions in Durham including the University, who all agree that it is crucial that we raise awareness of disability.
We believe this project has the potential to become something that can really make an impact for the local community. Heel & Toe provide an invaluable service, not just to the children and young adults they treat but also to the parents and loved ones. To understand what it is really like to physically disabled ‘For A Day’ provides a platform to change people’s views, feelings and general rhetoric about disability and with the added bonus of raising money for a very worthy cause. We believe that the challenge will enable able-bodied people to fully understand the issues that disabled people face every day ensuring a greater awareness for all.
THE WAY IT WORKS
For example a person would wake up and get into a wheelchair going about their day as normal experiencing the issues facing everyday wheelchair users. This could be a number of physical disabilities: blindness, deafness, loss of limbs etc. A helper who would document the day would accompany the participant for safety reasons. The day would be split into four areas:
- Getting ready
- Going to Uni/Work
- Meeting friends for a coffee/beer/dinner
- Getting home
The day will be filmed at a maximum of two hours with a pre and post interview. This can be done any day between 25th Jan 2015 and 26th February 2016. The films of each participant will be edited and made into a showcase movie to be shown at an event we will hold around March 5th 2016, venue TBC. The showcase event will include ‘A Participants Thank You’, ‘Meet the Children’, ‘Documentary’ and talks from Heel and Toe, SWDA and a mystery guest.
So if you would like to challenge yourself, make a change and raise money please get in touch:
Visit the Facebook Page and join in the challenge – ‘For A Day Durham’