Six years ago, I embarked upon a new and exciting sport. Many people thought I had lost my mind completely, which made me doubt the sensibility of my decision, but skiing has since become the most exciting part of my calendar.
So why is this such a big deal? Well, I was born with hip dislocation and club foot, medically known as Hip Dysplasia and Talipes, and endured multiple operations as a child. Then later, I developed chronic arthritis and had to have hip replacements so hurtling down a mountain didn’t seen the obvious choice for me!
I did have history of just finding a way though. My parents were told when I was three that I wouldn’t walk until I was 14. They decided this wasn’t an option, and found their own solution to encourage me. A pile of smarties was placed at the end of the coffee table; I made sure I got to them. My parents saw the determination, adventurous spirit, resiliency and splash of laughter that was going to carry me through life, to achieve goals many said would never happen.
After six years of skiing practice, I reached Gold standard and now I’m planning on trying the more autonomous version of Dual-Ski next year. Personally, I see my ‘disability’ in a less overwhelming way than others and as more of a superpower. I’m able to see the world in a different way and make it suit me, making it accessible and enabling me to do whatever anyone else can.
This is why I worked with a group of colleagues to found Colt’s first Disability Accessibility Network, known as DAN. I want people to know that we should never underestimate the power of difference. There are no limits to what you can achieve, only those limits you create, or others create for you.
I don’t ski like everyone else…I go much faster.
Susanne Hogan | Offnet Order Manager, Service Delivery | London