Humans of Success - Living with a Disability
One in every 1,000 babies in the UK is born with Spina Bifida and Aaron is one of these people. Most will then also develop hydrocephalus: a condition causing the build-up of fluid on the brain. This excess fluid then puts pressure on the brain causing headaches, sickness, blurred vision and difficulty walking. Unfortunately Aaron suffers on a daily basis with both these conditions but he never lets them hold him back in achieving his own successes.
- Name: Aaron McKane
- Age: 20
- Hometown: Castlederg
"Although I am aware of my disability and all the aspects that surround it, I do struggle at times to accept it. This in turn affects my ability to socialise with other people my age. I really feel that I struggle to make friends and feel I am not able to mix with others. I think my disability is holding me back; I do not have the confidence to initiate conversation or carry a conversation on. I wonder sometimes does that person see the disability first and then see me?
Because of my condition I end up spending long periods of time in hospital with different illnesses, I often get lonely there and frustrated with my condition as I always seem to be ill. I suffer constant pain in my stomach caused by a build-up of acid and have regular back pain which does stop me from being able to go out to work or community groups.
Something I can say is that I push myself – I will always see if I can do something before saying I can’t do it. I have a belief in not giving up and that is probably due to the good family support I have, they are kind caring and always have belief in my abilities. I cannot imagine how difficult living with a condition must be for people who do not have a strong network of friends, family or other supportive members of their community around them so I would encourage anyone to get involved and put yourself out there!
I throw myself in to a lot of different community organisations and groups, in particular Leonard Cheshire Disability. I initially joined the “Moving On” project aimed at employ-ability and entrepreneurship. I am now a member of their Moving On Forum involved in lobbying and being a voice for young people with disabilities. I have now recently become a member of the Access for Success project aimed at building resilience and increasing confidence and I have been really enjoying it. I have even been given the opportunity to represent the organisation in Strasbourg in June as part of the European Youth Conference 2018. It is things like this which make me feel like a more independent person and forget that my disability exists. I am currently working with Cedar as they help me find employment. I hold a number of GCSE’S, essential skills and I am currently finishing my NVQ in hospitality while at my placement in the Ulster American Folk Park. Without these organisations, community groups and the staff that work on the projects I would not feel as useful, independent and positive about life as I do.
To other young people out their living with a disability, you can't change your circumstances, all you can do is accept them and achieve the most you possibly can. To those few people who view people with disabilities differently to others, we are people exactly like you with feelings and emotions. We just have some parts of us that don't work in the same way."
Aaron is one of the most determined, independent, hard working people I know. He does not let his disability affect his daily life and is fully aware of his own abilities. When I see Aaron I do not see his wheelchair, I see a person who has every ability to achieve something in life and someone who can be whatever they set out to be - Project Officer