Sam Waddington on being a Trailblazer

Photo by Andy Brooks

Today (7th September) is World Duchenne Awareness Day, which aims to raise awareness around the world of Duchenne muscular dystrophy and its impact on those living with Duchenne.

Sam Waddington (18) from Eastleigh in Hampshire has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and is studying for a degree in journalism.

Sam is one of our Trailblazers, a network of more than 600 young disabled people who campaign for change and provide guidance on issues that affect them. As a charity, we make it a priority to provide services and opportunities to help disabled people live as independently as possible.

Below he tells us a little bit about what Trailblazers do and why he has enjoyed being a part of the group.

Having been a member of Trailblazers for just under a year now, I realise how necessary our work is. Striving for equality so that those with serious physical impairments can live life to the full and access all aspects of the community and public facilities are the main priorities.

 

Living with the progressive muscle wasting condition, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, I decided to join the network to share my experiences in accessing certain opportunities. So far, being part of the work that helps promote disability rights has been very rewarding. Through writing articles that raise awareness about varied aspects of disability, Trailblazers has also provided me with a great platform for the future, as my ambition is to become a journalist.

 

Since becoming a member my confidence with standing up to inaccessibility has grown, and I am now able to express myself in a constructive manner, as I have realised this is the only way to implement change. Due to my situation, along with fellow Trailblazers, we must not accept anything with limited or no access in everyday scenarios, whether it be inaccessible public transport or lack of dropped curbs on pavements.

 

Sharing ideas and common goals with like-minded individuals who have the same or similar disabilities can only be of benefit, since all of us want to access opportunities just like anyone else (mixing with disabled and able-bodied youngsters alike). Embarking on going to University and independent living, I will not have to overcome challenges on my own, there is always someone who has been through the same difficulties.

 

Who knows what the future holds for the Trailblazers? Especially if the group can carry on gaining greater publicity in the media, amplifying the voice of disability. Campaigning internationally could be next on the horizon…

 

If you’d like to find out about getting involved in the Trailblazers network, please contact us on 020 7803 4807 or trailblazers@musculardystrophyuk.org

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