Thursday, 28 January 2016

I'm a Loud & Proud Carer!!!

"It wasn't a conscious choice to become a carer of a child with a disability. It certainly wasn't on my list of 'to-dos when I grow-up', but it is the hand I was dealt."

We have a choice when we become carers, we can begrudge the lot we have been given  - or we can accept it and make the most of  the situation. Now I am not saying all carers have the same challenges, but I am saying we all have that choice.

From very early on, I consciously chose the latter. I made a decision to do whatever it took to ensure Chloes' life was a full, productive and empowered one. 

I have had many times I have though I made the wrong choice & that there has to be a better way. 

But when we come through that situation or she FINALLY gets what we have been practicing over & over & over,  
it is like euphoria!.

I used to feel I was less then everyone else, because my child was 'a burden'. Heaven knows we get it told to us often they MUST be a burden.

I also felt we had to apologize for being a huge cost on society & our children will never contribute in a positive way to society.


Today, I stand tall, knowing I am doing one hell of a job in society. I feel blessed to be one of the minority to have experienced TRUE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. Yes, that is one of the gifts you receive from having a loved one with a disability!

I have also become a far more genuine person who is a lot less quick to judge people by their looks. From being a carer, I learn't to slow down and smell the roses.
I learn't from watching Chloe that I am no better or worse that the next person. She is amazing in so much as she firmly knows she is the same importance as the next person. Even meeting famous people don't faze her!!!

When you look at the stats of what carers actually SAVE this country in money, you would never again allow some silly public servant or service provider or professor to tell you how much you cost Australia.

Whenever anyone tells me I am lucky I live in Australia when I question why we have lost another service, I respond with telling them they are confused...THEY are very lucky I didn't leave her at the hospital at birth or that I don't relinquish her!!

In 2010 it was estimated that carers save taxpayers $40.9 billion annually (the cost of replacing carers providing informal care with paid care workers).
As carers assist people to remain living in the community for longer they also make substantial savings on premature admission to costly residential care or supported accommodation options. Carers also experience benefits from caring, particularly in terms of their relationship with the person being cared for. Caring can be a very positive, rewarding experience.   excerpt from Facts about Carers - NSW Carers Australia


So today, i stand tall, with my shoulder back and my chin up and I walk with purpose - because I AM A CARER AND I AM PROUD TO BE SO!!!

Now over to YOU!!!!

This blog is going to be a little different.

One of the big goals for iDareU is to have all carers and people with disabilities empowered and standing in their own light.   Yes Yes, I know...that's a big ask, I hear you say - but hey, we have to start small and dream big, I say.

So I am inviting anyone at all who has become empowered by being a carer or person with a disability and made a change to society or even just their own life, to share their story here. I am going to post a few I have been excited by, and then it is up to my readers to enlighten me with their inspirations. Here's are the first ones.

Downs Designs Dreams is a newly formed 501(c)3 Corporation.
Downs Designs® and NBZ® Jeans are now brand names.

“The Dream”

If you are wondering about our new name, it’s about MY dream.  It’s the vision I have had since I started Downs Designs®.  I want to share it with you. 

Since I began this journey almost five years ago, I’ve had a vision. I see a huge warehouse, with guys on tow motors, unloading trucks every day.  I see the shipping and receiving department busy packaging orders for shipment and putting away the latest truckload.  I hear the hum of sewing machines down the hall in the alteration room where our amazing seamstresses are busy hemming and ironing the latest orders that just came back from the try-on service.

I see Jillian and her team of designers working on next season’s sportswear line.
The phones in customer service are ringing off the hook and we just hired a new employee; her name is Janie and she has Down syndrome.  

Last week we brought in a new customer service rep (a proud veteran).  He lost a leg in Iraq, but he’s doing a great job communicating with our customers.  The accounting department is busy keeping up with all the paperwork and the break room is empty with just a few dirty cups sitting on the table.  

The Board Room is being prepared for tonight’s meeting and my calendar is full of speaking engagements bringing awareness around the community.

Children with disabilities in schools everywhere are sitting quietly in their seats when the bell rings.  They’re off to the bathroom where they proudly can pull their own pants down and no longer need help from their aid. 

Mary, who has Down syndrome, just got a compliment on her new dress from Downs Designs Dreams.  Bobby is eight years old and is autistic.  His mom just bought him some new NBZ®  Jeans and he loves how they feel.  He thinks he’s cool today and needed no help getting dressed before school.

Jimmy also has Down syndrome and just got a new job at McDonald’s.  He’s so excited about his new position, but when they told him he had to wear black pants every day, he wasn’t worried.  He  just  bought a new pair last month from Downs Designs Dreams and knew he would look his best on his first day on the job.

No more will kids or adults with disabilities feel out of place, uncomfortable or feel like they don’t fit in.  Downs Designs Dreams is providing quality, stylish clothing to enrich the lives of people with disabilities and help them live a more satisfying and happier life.

“In loving memory of my grandson, Brendan Koehler, who was born with Down syndrome.”
Karen Bowersox

And then there is this amazing young man Oliver Hellowell is a beautiful photographer who has just published a book with some of his nature images.

So those are two of my stories, now over to you, please leave them in comments field on this blog, and ill repost them.

iDareU - Inspiring people with Disabilities through Awareness, Resources, Empowerment and Unity

Till next time.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

iDareU - Creating change for the better

 There is something very magical about Jan 1st.
For me and every person I have ever met, this magical date gives of a sense that something new and better, is just around the corner.

On New Years Eve, my favorite thing do to is to stay at home and reflect over my year just gone.

On New Years day, I like to  create goals & dreams for the following year. I gave up doing the New Years resolution thing years ago!

I can't count how many times I hear 

"bring on the next year - this has not been a good year."

  I wonder what happened to all that anticipation and hope that was there on Jan 1st......

In my life, I have found most years have had loss, sadness, joy, lessons, adventures, grief, fear.....almost every emotion I could think one stage or another.

I have had some enormous challenges in my life. 

My mother leaving us when I was 14yo, 
getting pregnant at 18yo and not knowing what to do, 
losing many friends to car accidents before I turned 20yo, 
having a massive stroke at 43yo, 
having a disabled child at 30yo. 
Marrying and divorcing, 
losing my very best friend to asthma and last year, 
Having my Dad die and find out he not only left everything to his second wife, but had stolen many thousands from us over time.

I have also had many amazing things happen...

Keeping my baby when I was 18yo, 
Having a disabled child, 
Travelling around our amazing land and in recent times - overseas,
Spending 15+ years guiding the most amazing bunch of people from lost to found, 
Speaking in front of up to 1,000 people, 
going into my own business, 
And this year, creating a NFP charity from scratch.

Of course these only scratch the surface, but in my life I have found that every challenge offers me a choice. the choice to become bitter & sad or the choice to ask:

'What is the lesson from this'?

A lot of years ago, I learn't to choose the latter.  Every time I am in an ugly situation, I ask the Universe 'What is my lesson from this?' Now sometimes I have been known to look skywards and exclaim "Really?? surely I have learn't enough now, GIVE ME A BREAK!!"

But I know that I wouldn't be given the challenge if this was the case.

"The greatest lessons I have learn't throughout my life have all come from my greatest fears....having my girl with Down syndrome & having my stroke."

From both of these I have learn't to treat ALL people with dignity and respect, if I am going to complain, make sure I am willing to step up & make the change I am complaining about, my fears are not real - but going through them DO make me stronger.

Sooo, although I fully understand the 1st Jan is just a day, like the one before it, I still get that feeling of anticipation and hope.

2016 is the year we bring our baby of the past year into the light.
Our passion is to teach Carers & people with disabilities how to become empowered and how to step into their own light. And this passion has been realised in the form of our brand new Charity...

 Inspiring people with Disabilities through Awareness, 
Resources, Education, Resources & Unity.

Yes, I am scared, but I KNOW and feel in my bones that iDareU is the difference the world has been looking for and needs. EVERYONE DESERVES TO BE TREATED WITH DIGNITY AND RESPECT.....
especially our most vulnerable and those who care for them unselfishly.

Please visit: and contribute to this marvelous charity...