Tag Archive | inspirational

“Reach for the sky”

“Buzz Lightyear, Space Ranger and Toy Story star. I can’t think how many times over the last 15 years have I watched my son launch himself off his bed imitating his on-screen hero yelling ” To infinity…………and beyond!”  and hoping for a safe landing.

So, what happened to “Buzz” Aldrin, the real-life astronaut and second man to walk on the moon behind Neil Armstrong, and the man who inspired Disney to name their character after him.?

Buzzes Lightyear and Aldrin have more in common that you may think.

In Toy Story 1, Buzz’s attempt to fly out of a window results in him breaking off his left arm. Buzz then goes through a very dark period (especially for a children’s film) firstly having a nervous breakdown, followed by a bout of depression before the story continues to reach a happy conclusion.

Buzz Aldrin too suffered from bipolar disorder and alcoholism and at the age of forty-two, his US Air Force career was apparently curtailed when he was admitted for psychiatric treatment. It seems that nothing could match the experience of being launched into space and walking on the moon and he was left, like some of the other lunar astronauts in the 1960’s and 1970’s with a sense of despondency and thinking “What next?”.

Although Aldrin has achieved more in his lifetime than most, many think that his biggest challenges were fighting the depression and alcoholism, which blighted his life for a long while costing him his first wife and young family. I often think about this when I’m feeling sorry for myself, struggling to cope and putting everything on the “too difficult ” pile. If it’s not easy for a brave, heroic, strong astronaut like Buzz, then the mere fact that I’m still here and still battling on is quite an achievement and should not be underestimated. So hang on in there, dig in deep and in the words of Buzz’s mate Woody…..”REACH FOR THE SKY!”

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International Day of Persons with Disabilities


Tomorrow, December 3rd,  is International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Is depression a disability? I think so, and so do many others who find themselves unable to function normally on a day-to-day basis. This was the conclusion of research carried out by the Depression Alliance and RADAR in support of a report entitled Depression, Disability and Employment sponsored by the Priory Group and launched at the Houses of Parliament back in October.

The Priory Group is now calling on the Government to class depression as a disability to improve people’s opportunities for employment and other forms of social participation.

In other words, depression should be treated as a disability in the same way as physical disabilities, and reasonable adjustments in the workplace made accordingly for those suffering from this illness.

Professor Chris Thompson, chief medical officer at the Priory Group said:   “This important research clearly shows most people living with depression think it is disabling.   Yet the stark truth is that our systems and services do not seem to have caught up with this recognition.”

Liz Sayce, chief Executive of RADAR and author of the report said:  “People with depression face as many barriers as people with physical impairments. We need the mental health equivalent of the ramp and the mobility scooter – simply fair chances and support to live a full life including the chance to work and contribute. Often depression runs like a thread through lives affected by other challenges – from physical ill health to racial discrimination. Supporting people with depression helps people to turn their lives around.”

So, what will I be doing tomorrow?

I for one will be celebrating the achievements and unique talents of all my friends and colleagues that I know who have a disability be it mental or physical. In doing so, I hope to raise awareness of the unmerited stigma, discrimination and ignorance which shrouds this topic and show people that we may be disabled, but, with a little support, we are still very able.

Have a Good Day!

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Dream Alliance-overcoming the odds

I have always loved horses. Majestic, elegant, powerful creatures, full of character and stubborn determination. I have had several “favourites” in my time including Desert Orchid, Sefton, Milton, Master Oats, Tingle Creek and now, Dream Alliance.

Dream Alliance: from slag heap alotment to Grand National hopeful

The fact that Dream Alliance should be challenging the great Denman in the Hennessy at Newbury tomorrow (currently 66-1), weather permitting, and defending his Welsh National title in December is a miracle in itself and I know that his rags-to-riches story of serious injuries, recoveries and subsequent triumphs has made grown men weep. I know. I’ve seen them. So why is this horse so special?

Dream Alliance  was reared on a Welsh allottment above an old slag heap in Cefn Fforest, and is owned by a syndicate of amateurs including an ASDA cleaner, pub landlord, and a tax colleague of mine who heads up the syndicate, Howard Davies.  Almost 2 years ago when “The Dream” was developing nicely and showing great promise he struck into his tendon running at Aintree and  the vets at Liverpool University gave him no chance of racing again. Slicing through the tendons would normally sound the death knell for a racehorse but this is no ordinary syndicate of owners. They decided that experimental stem-cell treatment was the best option for the horse and the team invested a sizeable chunk of the Dream’s retirement fund into the rescue programme. Their faith was repaid when Dream Alliance won the Welsh National last Christmas at Chepstow and then gave the owners a fabulous experience at Aintree in the Spring when he ran in the Grand National itself. A real fairytale for all concerned and a fantastic example of triumph over adversity. What an inspiration this horse and his owners are and I would love to see the proposed film come to fruition and take the cinemas by storm.

They never gave up hope. They cared for their horse and made sure that he received the best possible care and opportunity to come back and show everyone his true spirit.

I am a huge fan of this horse and win or lose this week or next month I will still  send him his favourite treat of Polos or Extra Strong mints via Howard.

He’s a star and he deserves them.

Read more about Dream Alliance;