Gabby's story - becoming a force for change
The support Gabby has had over the last six years has helped Gabby to grow from being a shy person into a force for change.
Gabby is preparing to swim in the sea for the first time later this year, as a fundraiser for SeeAbility. Gabby loves swimming in a pool but her mission to get in the open water at Bournemouth is a big challenge.
Born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus (a build up of fluid on the brain), Gabby is no stranger to facing and overcoming the seemingly impossible including health battles. However, the support she has received to live as independently as she can in her assisted living flat for the past six years has helped Gabby to grow from being quite a shy person into a mature and driven young woman. Being able to make her own independent decisions is also so important, as Gabby explains:
"At Meadowmead the support from the management side and support workers has been so fantastic. They have been there for me and my family."
A force for change
Now 26, Gabby has for the past year also been achieving amazing things not only for herself but for other people with disabilities. She became an Associate – a volunteer post in a team guided by Scott Watkin (BEM) - SeeAbility’s Head of Engagement, who campaign on issues that matter to their community.
"When I first met Gabby she was really quiet…and now I can’t and don’t want to keep Gabby quiet! She is just driving her way forward and achieving so much. Gabby is doing amazing things." Scott Watkin
Gabby says it made a big difference to her confidence that Scott understands what it is like to be disabled, due to his own lived experience. Gabby is doing work that she never imagined she would be able to do and feels proud of the positive impact she is making.
The support she receives and her own resilience and determination to make the most of the opportunities she is given have seen her achieve big wins, such as the approval from Government for a safety crossing outside the meadowbank flats. It's also installed a faith in her that she can continue to grow and accomplish new things. And that includes being able to get in the sea…