I discovered Challengers when Fergus was 4 years old, and it has changed our lives – it is our lives. I am a Trustee of this amazing charity and will do as much as I can for it. My friends will vouch for that because I am always asking them to give and help, they are all truly amazing and always willing to support Challengers. As much as I love Fergus I would never have chosen this life for me and my family.
Don’t get me wrong I have made some incredible friends, changed my career; my kids, family, friends and their children are more aware of disability than I ever was at their age and I would like to think I am a much better person! But this is not quite the life that I expected. Unless you are a parent of a disabled child you will never understand what Challengers means to us all.
In my job, as a trustee and ambassador over the past few years I have seen parents struggling everyday with children that have challenging behaviour, that are violent, kick, punch, bite; kids that don’t sleep, have no sense of danger; I see families torn apart by their disabled children and many marriages fail.
Another parent once said to me, in my early years, “as a parent of a disabled child you are always a moment away from tears” – she was right.
However this is where Challengers comes in. I book everything that I am allowed to, Approx. 6 Saturdays per term, 1 day at Half Term, 4 days at Easter 6 days in the summer hols and after school club every Thursday. This is when we have our freedom to do normal stuff that others take for granted!
We can walk the dog all together, go shopping, visit friends for a coffee and watch my twins play sport. All the while, knowing that Fergus is having fun in a safe and stimulating environment. Challengers gives him independence away from me, he mixes with other children but also gets the one to one attention that he needs. The wonderful staff know him and know what he likes so he is able to cook, paint and go on the outside play area.