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My interview with Carrie-Ann Lightley

Carrie-Ann Lightley, 33, from the Lake District, is a wheelchair user who has Cerebral Palsy. She is well known for her successful blog ( and passion for travel. In 2019 she was named on the Disability Power 100 as one of the most influential disabled people in the UK. Hannah Deakin has interviewed her.

How did you get into working in tourism? I started with national charity Tourism for All back in 2005. My job involved running their helpline, membership and partnership services, to support disabled people looking for accessible travel and tourism information, and helping accessible tourism businesses to promote their services.
Writing for Tourism for All's newsletter inspired me to launch my blog in 2007. After 13 years with the charity, I moved on to AccessAble in 2018.

What does your job with AccessAble involve? My role is Marketing Manager. I lead on our work with external partners, including Destination Management Organisations, disability charities and d…
Recent posts

Manic May!

May was well a very busy month. I never have a 'quiet' life, it is always busy. Nevertheless, May seemed especially hectic, which considering I didn't have my usual activities of hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, swimming, work experience and oxygen therapy seems surprising.

I have been doing daily physiotherapy to try and keep mobile, keep up my progress and not get too stiff. I have also managed to have a couple of zoom physiotherapy appointments. I have been really missing my hydrotherapy and swimming in the water. It makes such a difference. It helps my muscles, strength, pain and general fitness so much.
I have also been trying to sort out the added administration of employing PAs and what they are entitled to with new rules and regulations, as well as attempting to try and cover many shifts. This has been hard and it is trying to get the balance between protecting myself, but accessing the care I need.
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I'm scared, I would be lying if I said I wasn't. Am I worthy of saving?

I have been debating whether to post this blog post for a few weeks. Then, I thought many people probably won't know or understand, the current worrying situation that many chronically ill/disabled people face, and I believe they need to.

I'm scared, I would be lying if I said I wasn't. Am I worthy of saving?
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I am a person just like anyone else but just because I have mobility issues and some illnesses, is my life less worthy? Less valuable?

I know we hope the requirement for intensive care (ICU) beds and ventilators, will not be needed at full capacity. We hope patients will not have to be prioritised, however it is possibility. Can we just sit back and hope they don't?

Nobody knows the…

Helpful tips for managing isolation...from an expert!

Isolation, is something that disabled people, or those with chronic illnesses experience a lot. Their norm. I spent nearly four years as a teenager totally bedbound and in hospital, so couldn't and didn't go out at all. Followed by a year or two barely going out, maybe once a week.

When I was in hospital for all those years, the one time I did get some 'fresh air' was when my Mum, Dad and brother took me in my bed, in the lift down twelve floors and outside the hospital entrance in central London!

Unfortunately, you may need to stay indoors and not go out for 3 weeks, or a couple of months, depending on the situation and how things change and develop. However, count yourself lucky and spare a thought for disabled/chronically ill people, when this can be their daily reality.

Speak to people
Keep in contact with your friends and family. Speak to them on the phone and message them.
The internet is a lifeline, enabling you to 'see' loved ones and friends whether th…

How will disabled people manage through the Coronavirus crisis?

Coronavirus or COVID-19. A word that until a month or 2 ago nobody had heard of, except maybe as Corona-a beer! Now we are in a pandemic; the world is set to be turned upside down. Some countries have closed their borders, schools and universities and are in lock down. Here in the UK some of this has not yet happened. But how will disabled people and the elderly manage if and when it does? Thousands of disabled people depend on care each day to survive. What will happen to them? Some cannot access food or drink, move position or go to the toilet without help. Without help the stark reality is that we could just be left to starve to death, in agony with pressure sores and in our own urine and faeces. It might sound harsh but I am sure it feels a lot harsher. It would be inhumane. Disabled people deserve better. There is a chance of dying from covid 19; there is a guarantee of disabled people dying without help. Furthermore their deaths would have been preventable. The government needs t…

White Lodge Ball

On Saturday 15th February 2020 I attended the White Lodge ball with my Mum and Dad.
The ball was hosted at the lovely Runnymede hotel in Egham, Surrey. Despite storm Dennis' best efforts to ruin our hair and soak us before we had even arrived at the ball, we made it and arrived just after 7pm. I did my transformation act when I arrived, with this terrible plastic sheet over me and then I whipped it off and ta da...I am converted into a finely dressed young woman!

We were greeted with champagne or the non alcoholic alternate for me with elderflower presse! We mingled in the bar-lounge area, before being invited into the events room to take our seats at our relevant tables.
The room was beautifully decorated, with red bows on the back of the chairs and red and white petals scattered on the tables, a perfect combination since it was the day after valentine's day and White Lodge's colours are red and white!

There were about 20 tables of approximately 9 guests on each table. So…

Nike flyease trainers and SAFOs/AFOs

Do you struggle to find shoes to fit your AFOs? Do you find it hard to put your shoes on yourself?

I spent months looking for a new pair of trainers that fitted with my SAFOs (Silicone ankle foot orthotics). I had been holding on to a very old pair of trainers with a velcro strap for years, as everytime I looked I couldn't find anything. This also wasn't helped by the fact I have big feet! In trainers I usually need an 8.5 /9 to accommodate my SAFOs, and most women's trainers only go up to size 8.

I did find some shoes especially made for wearing with splints but they were not nice looking and bore a huge disability price tag. Alternatively, I found some shoes from America, in which I thought, what would I do if they didn't fit or were not suitable? It wasn't ideal.

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