Yes, you can achieve – Liesl’s inspiring message about living with a disability


Liesl Hammer. Picture: BIOSPHERE EXPEDITIONS - Credit: Biosphere Expeditions

There are many misconceptions about what people with disabilities can and can't do. LIESL HAMMER, who has cerebral palsy, has this inspiring message

Liesl Hammer. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Liesl Hammer. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

I'm Liesl and I have cerebral palsy.

I have lived in Norwich almost all my life and have noticed the stigma surrounding people with disabilities. My aim is to educate and inform you about what the disabled community can actually achieve.

There are a lot of misconceptions regarding what disabled people can and can't do.

As a disabled person myself, I can assure you there is nothing we can't achieve when given a little bit of help.


Liesl Hammer. Picture: BIOSPHERE EXPEDITIONS - Credit: Biosphere Expeditions

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I have had my disability from birth. It affects body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. However, I do not let this stop me from doing the stuff that I love to do.

For example, I like dance, skiing, riding and climbing. I thoroughly enjoy these activities and encourage others to join me.

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I am lucky enough to have a family that encourages me to do everything they do, so when they go skiing in Austria I'm right there with them. I'm certain that I'm not the only one.

Instead of sitting at home, disabled people tend to enjoy life just like everybody else – maybe even more.

We talk about people in rich countries taking advantage of simple facilities, but never think about walking as being a luxury. Communities seem to think that just because we find it hard to walk or it's hard to communicate, that we are instantly stupid and are not capable of having fun.

Activities for the disabled do not get enough publicity in Norwich. This is not only damaging to the disabled community but also other people, as they never receive the right message.

So, for all the people out there who doubt their own abilities or want to find out more, these activities are for you.

The epicentre of disabled sports in Norwich is at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

On Wednesdays, between 11.40am and 1pm, they have sports clubs for groups and individuals from the age of 16.

There are a range of activities including football, tennis and athletics. There is also Boccia on Mondays from 6.20pm to 7.40pm. Go and have a go!

I am also looking for someone to join my dance class at the Garage on a Friday, between 6pm and 7pm. At the moment there is only me, so it would be really nice for some of you to come.

We get to choreograph our own pieces. There is also a class for mentally and physically disabled people on Fridays between 5pm and 6pm. It is a perfect way to dance your troubles away.

So next time you see someone with a disability, stop and reflect for a moment. We're more alike then you think!

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