Thirty-two-year-old David Gale is a civil servant and is one of Muscular Dystrophy UK’s original Trailblazers, a network of more than 600 young disabled campaigners. He has championed the network’s values since it started in 2008, working to break down barriers facing young disabled people. David, who has Becker muscular dystrophy, lives in Carlisle in Cumbria, with his partner Tracey, and their son Spencer. He talks about some of the challenges he faces, and his achievements with Trailblazers.
I was diagnosed with Becker muscular dystrophy when I was five years old. Now 32, I am still reasonably mobile, and still able to walk unaided.
The main challenges I face day-to-day are using stairs, climbing steep hills, and walking long distances. Bending over can be difficult too, as well as getting out of chairs that have no arms.
My condition means I can’t always be as physically involved as I would like to be with my son, Spencer, which can be frustrating, but having an understanding partner helps.
I’ve been involved with Trailblazers since it started, in 2008 – I was at the launch at the House of Commons. Who knew that eight years later, we would be a group of more than 600 young disabled campaigners?
My role as a Trailblazer has involved numerous trips to Parliament, visiting places to review disabled facilities, media work, and handing in a petition at 10 Downing Street.
I am really proud of winning Muscular Dystrophy UK’s President’s Award for Campaigner of the Year in 2011.
Being involved in such an active campaigning group has meant I have achieved lots of positive change for disabled people. I have been involved in the installation of lifts at Carlisle Station, reviewing access at the majority of railway stations on the Settle to Carlisle Railway, and helping the Green Party in Ulverston keep a railway crossing open. I also campaigned to get the local bus company to include accessible information on their timetables!
Through my work as a Trailblazer, I have been given the opportunity to be part of the diversity panel with ITV Border, published blogs and articles for Disability now, and helped Tourism for All with numerous projects.”
Are you interested in becoming a Trailblazer? Find out more about their work and how you can get involved.