Positive message as Norfolk Disability Pride celebrates diversity
The negative stereotypes around disability were challenged as Norfolk Disability Pride promoted positivity, with the help of the first paralysed man to complete the London Marathon.
Simon Kindleysides, 34, completed the marathon in an exoskeleton suit in April and opened today’s Disability Pride event at The Forum in Norwich.
Father-of-three Mr Kindleysides, from Blofield, was diagnosed with functional neurological disorder and a giloma brain tumour in 2013, which left him paralysed from the waist down.
But he has been determined not to let that hold him back. As well as his gruelling 36 hour marathon success, in 2015 he cycled from London to Paris and raised more than £5,000 for charity.
At yesterday’s event he talked about his ‘can do’ attitude. He said: “My motto is there is no such thing as can’t, if you believe in yourself you can do anything.
“I want to be a role model to my children and inspire other disabled people. We get one life so we have to make the most of it, I have a bucket list with things I want to do, and I will achieve everything.”
The free event was run in partnership with disability charity Equal Lives, The Forum, Norwich City Council, Norfolk County Council and the University of East Anglia, with many other businesses offering support and involvement.
It showcased local artists, performers and speakers through a programme of live music, talks, poetry and activities.
People could also look at a Toy Box Tales exhibition - photographs showing mainstream toys with disabilities.
And there were stalls giving advice and information, including Equal Lives, Musical Keys, UEA Sportspark, the BUILD charity and Active Norfolk.
Other events included the Norfolk Disability Pride Art show, a dance performance by The Garage and events in the Millennium Library, including a Wellbeing Workshop for carers, story time and bounce and rhyme sessions.
Ben Reed chief executive of Equal Lives, said “It has been designed as a celebration, for people to come together and take part in the day’s activities to support an inclusive community.
“With as many as 100,000 disabled people living in East Anglia, we are hoping this event is the start of something big and it will continue to grow.”
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