In the last 25 days we’ve shared disabled people and families’ stories about dating, fostering, finding work and how technology can make such a difference to people’s lives.
We’ve also heard about the extra costs that can quickly add up when you’re disabled, about fighting to get the right support to live independently and people’s attitudes towards hidden disabilities.
We’re publishing one of these stories every day in the 100 days leading up to the general election. And we’re asking parliamentary hopefuls to read just one story, so they better understand disability.
Having an impact
Alex’s story about being offered a termination of her unborn son has been one of our most read-blogs ever and has so far been shared more than 2,000 times on Facebook and Twitter.
Alex writes “No one said: ‘There’s a chance he might be happy. There’s a chance he might enrich your lives in ways you never imagined.'”
Craig’s story about turning his life around after a spell in prison to become a Paralympic cycling hopeful was selected as Guardian Society’s ‘pick of the blogs’ a few weeks ago.
“I’m not proud of my past”, says Craig, “but (prison has) certainly shaped me to be the person I am”.
Our parent storytellers are fighters. Emily and Virginia are disabled mothers who also have disabled children. They have told us about the hundreds of pounds their families need to spend every week on extra costs.
And Sarah explained how she had to sleep separately to her husband for five years because her disabled daughter wouldn’t sleep alone.
Alice, the mother of two boys with autism, says writing about her experiences in a guide for other parents has given her strength. And disabled mum Marie has explained that being a small mum in a wheelchair has benefits most people wouldn’t think of.
The fight for independence
Disabled filmmaker Tom has told us what it’s been like to go from living at home to being at a transition service in the heart of the city he loves.
We’ve also shared Mandy’s incredible story about her 30-year battle to be heard. Staff caring for her thought she had no awareness of the outside world. When someone finally realised how much she understood, Mandy could start taking control of her life.
Barriers to finding work
Our stories have highlighted the barriers disabled people can come up against when job-seeking. 20-year-old Azar struggled to get work after finishing college, but everything has now changed for him.
And Georgina writes about gaining the confidence to start volunteering and applying for jobs after 15 years out of the workforce.
On Valentine’s Day Jennie Williams, the director of Enhance the UK told us how sex can be awkward when you’re hard of hearing. 22-year-old travel writer Emily revealed how her boyfriend googled ‘how to kiss a wheelchair user’ before asking her out.
“My personal favourite has to be ‘say you want to tell her a secret, then go for it’ with a winky face for added bonus points,” says Emily. “Luckily, he didn’t follow that advice.”
We still have 75 disabled peoples and families’ stories to share until the election on 7 May 2015. We are updating our 100 days, 100 stories page every day with our newest story, as well as sharing them on Twitter and Facebook.
You can also help us raise awareness by sharing a story on Facebook and re-tweeting with our hashtag #100days100stories.
If you would like to share your story as part of our campaign please email firstname.lastname@example.org