Leeds, Yorkshire, UK

A special guest is writing my blog today – over to you, Geoff…

“I was born at a time when disabled people were kept out of sight. I got polio at the age of 2 and was expected to work in a sheltered workshop, if I worked at all, and be ‘looked after’. My mother, and consequently myself, would have none of that and I went on to study physics at university, and live an independent life. I had a good job for many years and now run my own business.

I have always wanted to encourage and enable others to achieve their potential, and my skills as a physicist enable me to do that, but I only ever succeeded on an individual level.

I met Roz when her mother arranged for her to speak at our local church, and she made me realise that we can all do things on a much grander scale if we simply choose to do so. And I want to do more!

Maybe I have a role, not in promoting disabled people, but in changing attitudes to handicap and disability. Maybe I could point out that people look up to Roz thinking she is unique, and that compared to her, they feel that they can achieve very little, but as she said to me, anyone can do great things if they choose. The power is there within us all.

I like to remind people that everyone has things they can’t do, everyone is handicapped to some extent, but it is more important what we choose to do than what we can’t do. Yes, for some people, the choice is more restricted than others, but we all have a choice, we all have a role, and we all can do great things. We should never assume someone can’t, however it looks.

Perhaps we should learn from my friend Nathan aged 8, who has cerebral palsy, and when his dad jumps in and does something for him on his computer, Nathan will delete it and then do it for himself. He is destined for great things!

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