I’m the youngest of 3 children. I have a brother and a sister. A bossy, determined, intelligent, hardworking, and well-behaved elder sister who carved a pathway so full of high expectations and excellence throughout our school years that her scruffy, disorganised and overindulged young sister never stood a hope in hell of catching up with her.
She drove me nuts she was so perfect. Our teachers accidentally called me by her name in a subconscious effort to make me more like her. I stubbornly refused, and as she headed off to university and a successful career, instead I carved my own alternative path of back street rock musicians, East End ne’er-do-wells and a mediocre job that just about funded my Camels and Carlsberg lifestyle.
As she ticked off life goals, I kicked my heels, listless, until she recommended me for a job that got me out of a rut and suddenly sparked my interest in databases, programming and statistics, and which led very quickly to my first job in schools. I had finally started to fly.
A few years later her health declined to the point where she had to give up work. It was a tough time for a woman who had been defined by success and her own determination to conquer everything. She stalled for a while, not knowing who to be, how to be, disabled. But it didn’t take long before ideas started sparking, of things she could do, to be occupied, challenged, worthwhile. She started making jewellery and slowly, true to form, there came a website, a following, an emerging small business.
She works as and when as her health allows, and she donates a share of her profit to the charities that support people with her conditions. She also campaigns for the rights of those with disabilities and she is, without question, amazing. But she’s also my sister, my friend, my supporter, my mentor and above all, my shero.