15 August 2016
Three States of Jersey Ministers are taking on stroke survivor Anthony Lewis’s challenge to live with a disability for a day.
Earlier this year, the former journalist challenged three States Members to spend a day living with either sight impairment, aphasia or using a wheelchair to highlight the difficulties faced by people with a disability.
On Tuesday, 16 August Health Minister, Senator Andrew Green, Home Affairs Minister, Deputy Kristina Moore and Assistant Chief Minister, Senator Paul Routier will all take on Ant’s Challenge.
Tracy O’Regan from the Jersey Stroke Association said: “We’re delighted that three States Members have taken up Ant’s challenge. Stroke survivors, as well as people with other disabilities, face many obstacles in their daily lives. We hope this challenge will increase awareness in our community so we can provide improved access and facilities.”
Anthony Lewis, who has the communication disorder aphasia, said: “To States Members - three people - well done. Hopefully, a hard work. It's a disabled, a toilets? Lunch? Busy? Anxiety? Is better? We hope to learning.”
Senator Routier, who will be using a motorised wheelchair, said: “When Ant announced the challenge, I knew that I should accept it. As a parent of a man who has Down's syndrome, I’m aware of the many issues people with learning disabilities and their families face on a daily basis. While developing the forthcoming disability strategy, I’ve spoken to many people with disabilities but to experience first-hand the challenges wheelchair users face will greatly help my understanding.”
Deputy Moore will try to live with the results of having a stroke – the communication disorder aphasia and the paralysis of a limb. She will not be able to speak or use her right arm. She said: “It has been devastating to see the difficulties and restrictions that a stroke suddenly imposes on a person's brain and body. I greatly admire the determination of Ant to face up to such adversity. By taking on just one aspect of these impairments for a day I hope to gain a better understanding of the practical ways we can help stroke survivors and raise awareness amongst our community.”
Senator Green will wear special glasses provided by EYECAN which will restrict his vision to mimic Macular degeneration – which is the leading cause of sight loss in older adults in Jersey. The EYECAN Rehabilitation Officer will also accompany him throughout the day to provide any support he may need.
Senator Green said: “I don’t think anyone who does not have a disability can ever really appreciate the challenges someone with a disability faces every day. For Ant’s challenge, I will be finding out what it is like to be visually impaired with macular degeneration. I’m nervous about the day but think it will give me a fresh perspective on how people with this type of sight impairment cope with every day challenges. I think all three of us taking part will gain a lot and the exercise will help us look at issues which affect people with a disability from a viewpoint other than our own.”
Islanders will be able to follow Senator Routier, Deputy Moore and Senator Green throughout the day on their social media feeds on Facebook and Twitter.