In 2003 I was diagnosed with the potential of having Multiple Sclerosis after losing colour to the left eye for a few weeks. Life continued on without incident until 2008 when I experienced vertical double vision, where the question mark over Multiple Sclerosis was taken away and it became a certainty; You have Multiple Sclerosis. In 2009 my ability to walk was impaired and much physiotherapy was needed to retrain me to walk.
Multiple Sclerosis has not deterred me from living to the best of my ability; in fact it has spurred me on to gain my Bachelor in Applied Sciences, Environment Major. This allowed me to realise a dream of getting down to Antarctica. I have been carrying that dream for quarter of a century stemming back to my NIWA days.
My degree was the minimum requirement to do the Post-Graduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies. I completed my degree in June 2014 and applied for the Antarctica course soon after, starting with the University of Canterbury and Gateway Antarctica in November 2014 which saw me on an ice-shelf at Windless Bight Christmas Day in Antarctica surrounded by my fellow classmates and tutors. In 2014 I also achieved getting my Tracks license and my Level 1 Basic Traffic Controller.
Aside from the studying I have been busy with my music, enjoying most of all making music videos; I currently have six music videos on You-Tube under Faye Richards, with “The Box” depicting life as a disabled person.
Currently I am working on three music videos; one song was written about my spray painting of an old Mark 2 Cortina (Donkey) in 2003 and was used to complete my National Certificate in Performing Arts Technology, another one is the song “Short-tailed Bat”, where the lyrics not only pertain to the plight of the short-tailed bat, but also deal with disabilities, and the last one “Bell Ringer”, which will see me falling from a trapeze.
H ow has Multiple Sclerosis affected me? I move more slowly, I get tired but it is definitely not enough to stop me from having mad ideas of where to go next.
I hope this article inspires you to be the best you can be. ◆
Also in May 2015 issue: