Richard Brown, Trustee of Ataxia UK, has spent a lot of time helping others. He was delighted to discover that people were willing to help him in return. After a year of online funding, Richard was finally able to purchase his long awaited for Trike, which has improved his life ten-fold. Now, he wants to say ‘thank you’!
At the end of last year, I launched an online appeal to raise money for an electric Trike. With a lot of support, I raised £4,000 and picked up my ‘new wheels’ last week. Thanks so much to everyone who supported my appeal. The Trike has changed my life in so many ways.
It has helped me do things I already did, but now I can do them independently, which takes the pressure off friends and family who support me. Most weeks, I have several meetings in the village, sometimes in the evenings; having to rely on others to take me or pick me up lessened my independence. We also have friends who live at the other end of the village, at the top of a long, steep hill. Now we can go around for dinner without my wife having to push me there and back!
But I can also do new things on my own, which greatly improves my feeling of self-worth and confidence. Now people smile and wave when they see me whizzing through the village! This is not only changing my own perceptions, but gives others a very positive message about what disability means, and has helped me in my voluntary work. I volunteer with our village Community Bus Service; I don’t drive the bus, but I do regret not being on the customer side. As Chair of the organisation, I work behind the scenes instead. We work closely with local community groups. Twice I have travelled through the village on the trike to represent the bus and supervise pick-ups.
I also volunteered at a local charity cycle ride. Instead of putting me behind a desk at the start of the course, the organisers asked if I was happy to be a Safety Marshal. I went out to the first turn about a kilometre away and waited on my own, with first-aid kit and mobile phone, to direct and support the cyclists as they went past.
My taking a greater part in their lives can only have a positive effect on our children too. I can now be on the playground chatting with the other parents at 3pm to pick up our daughter from the village school. The pupils especially like to ask about my trike. Instead of holding everyone back on days out, I can be like no other Daddy and give rides around our village or the grounds at Blenheim Palace to our three-year-old son.
It’s been great how friends, family, the local community and a Charitable Foundation have all come together to support me. It is about making something happen yourself, and that others are willing to support you. Through my appeal, I also met a hard-core fundraiser who wants to do some ‘extreme’ fundraising together this year! (gulp!) I have used my amazing trike nearly every day since I collected it and am looking forward to a long Summer of outdoor adventures with my family and friends. Thanks again for your support!