I am a very lucky survivor... During my 30s and 40s I survived numerous brain tumours! I got to see my daughters grow up, to meet my grandchildren, and to enjoy all kind of wonderful moments that during the darkest years seemed unlikely.
However, the cancer left its ugly scars. My hearing has deteriorated ever since and I have been severely deaf for over a decade. Deafness is a hidden disability... its isolating, limiting and very widespread. Did you know that approximately 9 million people in the UK have hearing loss? This is about 19% of the total population or 1 in every 7 people.
For me its like living in a cloud that keeps the sound out. Its isolating, and frightening. When I moved to Gloucestershire in 2009 I was already hard of hearing. Though my hearing loss wasn't as profound as it is today, I couldn't use my phone and meeting new people and fitting into my new community was difficult.
It seems ok to say "sorry I didn't hear you" once, maybe twice. But
after a while people just give up. They walk away, or turn to someone who can hear them. And you are left alone inside the silencing cloud, feeling ashamed, stupid and lonely.
When I found the Gloucestershire Deaf Association (GDA) my life changed. No one at the GDA ever walks away if you can't hear them. The organisation fosters a warm, welcoming, solution-focused atmosphere. I have found my tribe, and we all accept and support each other. We have a lot of fun, and enjoy life a lot more as a result. I have made many friends through the social activities, 3 in particular who are very dear to me.
Every year the GDA need to raise £535,000 to provide their vital and
life-changing services, which offers support to 1000's of deaf and hard of hearing people, just like me. We would all be so much more isolated without them.The organisation really is a lifeline.
So to celebrate the GDA's 100 year anniversary I have decided to give up chocolate for the whole of March. You all know how much I LUUUURRRRVVVVE the brown stuff, so this is going to be exceptionally tricky. Louisa, Melanie, Lee and Amelie has joined me and will be giving up chocolate too. We are determined to raise at least £500 with your help - will you sponsor us? The first £100 of
sponsorship will be matched by another GDA supporter ... so if you sponsor us quickly your donation will be doubled!
Thank you for listening, for not turning away. Your sponsorship means the world to me and all my friends at the GDA.
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the GDA. So it's the most efficient way to donate - saving time and cutting costs for the charity.