There is something rather special about discovering that people value you.
I was quite surprised to open my e-mails and find one saying that, not only had I been nominated for a ‘Stars of Cornwall Award’, but I had been shortlisted as a finalist in the ‘Star Carer’ category.
I don’t know who nominated me, only that the nomination mentioned my devotion to my son, that I home educate him because it is the only way to meet his needs, and also my determination to making the world a better place for disabled people by campaigning for Changing Places toilets to be everywhere they are needed.
I am genuinely touched.
Someone values me.
Someone thinks I am doing something important.
Someone believes I am doing something which needs to be done.
Someone thinks it is important enough to spend time nominating me.
And I am so thankful to know that.
Because every day I ask someone to value my child and all too often people ignore me. They try not to see him and they try not to hear me but we know that they have seen and heard. They have just chosen to ignore us.
Not replying tells us that our needs (and the needs of hundreds of thousands of people in the UK) are not important to them.
They tell us that we don’t matter.
All without saying a word.
Whether I win the award or not I hope it will help to make more businesses see that all that I am asking is for them to value all people.
The basic human need to use a toilet should not be disabling people. It shouldn’t be trapping them in their homes and it shouldn’t be leaving them feeling that they matter less than another person.
I might win an award but what I really want is for another attraction or business in Cornwall to say that they care, that they value all people and that they will be making it a priority to add these two simple pieces of equipment to their “disabled” toilet facilities.
Then they will have accessible toilet facilities.
Don’t say nothing at all, contrary to what Ronan Keating sang, you really don’t say it best when you say nothing at all.
So please share the message, tell every big tourist attraction, town council, supermarket and shopping centre (just to name a few) that YOU believe in equality and that you expect them to as well.
You will also be showing Adam that you believe in equality.