Elizabeth Grant is 63 and has spina bifida yet she has never let that define who she is! Today, on World Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day she wanted to share some of her own insights into living with a disability and what it means to her.
“I was one of seven children so there wasn’t much time for molly-coddling when I was born! My parents were practical people so when my brothers were doing something my dad would just try to find a solution so I could take part in the activity as well. They always looked for a way that I could do something rather than think I couldn’t.
Because of this, I am as self-sufficient as I can be. That is not to say life is easy as it’s not. Over the years I have been through a lot, about 40 years ago I had my right hipbone removed and for nearly 20 years I have had an open wound which the surgeon can’t do anything about without creating a whole other set of issues. Through all of that the biggest challenge I have faced was losing my husband 12 years ago. We complemented each other so well; it was difficult to deal with.
Despite all of this, I want to show others that life does not stop because of disability. I make sure that I spend my time doing everything that I want to in life, I let nothing hold me back. I go to tai-chi class, I’m involved in my local church, I love my garden, I’m a Cub leader and I have a courageous cat called Jasmine. I even had the opportunity to go canoeing recently and loved it – although thanks to health and safety, by the time I had all the life jackets and harnesses on I couldn’t move my arm to use the oars!”
SBH Scotland then asked Elizabeth what advice she would give to younger people living with disabilities. She continued,
“Don’t let people tell you what you need or want – you know what you want and you know your own condition. It always makes me very frustrated when people tell me what I want, for instance, I use a manual wheelchair and people constantly tell me I need a powerchair. However, I don’t want a powerchair, I am very happy manually pushing myself, so I will continue to do so!
It’s also so important to try and do as much as you can for yourself and fight tooth and nail for the right to do so.”
Many thanks to Elizabeth for sharing her story. #WSBHD