breathe movie

The Cinema and Disability – London Film Festival.

Earlier this month I spent quite a bit of time at the London Film Festival as a press delegate.  One thing was very apparent this year was the importance given to films that dealt with disability issues.  The opening night gala was Andy Serkis’s film Breathe with Claire Foy and Andrew Garfield.  Breathe told the true story of the successful and dashing Robin Cavendish who has just married Claire Foy and they are expecting their first child when he is struck down by Polio on a business trip to Kenya.  This was in the 50s when polio epidemics were regular occurrences and medical science had very little to offer.  Indeed, all they wanted to offer Robin was a life in a hospital ward with a respirator by his bed.  Fortunately his wife Diana who is a forceful and strong-willed woman and persuades her friend Teddy (Hugh Bonneville)who is an Oxford professor to design a wheelchair with a built in respirator so that Andy can get out from hospital and move around.

Film Breathe

Defying the odds and medical opinion, Robin goes on to live a long and full life moving around on steadily improving versions of his wheelchair which is gradually implemented across the NHS.    Seeing this film reminded me of the exhibition the Queen Elizabeth Foundation did last year which features Iron Lungs from the 1950’s.  We really have moved on, haven’t we?

film stronger

The second film that caught my attention was ‘Stronger’ another true story, this time concerning Jeff Baumer a regular guy living in Boston who is severely injured when the Boston Marathon was targeted by terrorists.  Baumer loses both his legs whilst he was cheering on his girlfriend from the finishing line.  The film depicts how he deals with aftermath of the tragedy and gradually adapts to walking again on prosthetics whilst being hailed as a symbol of a ‘stronger’ Boston spirit.

The film Breathe is on release now and, if you like Claire Foy in ‘The Crown’ you will find her performance equally compelling in this movie.

 

Your First Holiday Together

I am very happy to say that I have been writing for Posability magazine on the topic of having your first romantic holiday together.

Here is the link, i hope you find it interesting.  I write regularly about disability issues for various magazines and online sites.

Tips to enjoy your first holiday together

autism with disabilitymatch.co.uk

Autism and Romantic Relationships.

We seem to have more and more members joining the site who are on the autistic spectrum.  This is great since, by definition, these are the very members of the disabled community who need help in navigating the tricky dating footpath.  So I was very excited when the leading autism resource ambitiousaboutautism  to contribute an article about dating and autism.   I would encourage you to read it and share it with your friends and anyone who you feel might benefit from my comments.

autism with disabilitymatch.co.uk

I write for a quite a few of the main disability sites and if you check out the latest print version of Posability magazine you will find a piece from me on disabled holidays.  The article will appear in online format very soon.  I will then tweet it out and mention it her on the blog.  I am just editing our next podcast which has same great stuff on it and I will be writing to you when it is ready to download.

 

 

Disability Match Profiled in Datingadvice Review

Datingadvice.com is one of the most respected dating review sites on the internet and to get an endorsement from them is wonderful news for the team at disabilitymatch.   The review tells the history of our site since it was started 6 years ago and explores my motivation as webmaster in building the site and our positioning in the marketplace.

The review does emphasise how our site has distinguished itself as a real part of the UK’s disabled community.  They noted how special our podcast is and how we keep our community informed through our Twitter feed and Facebook fanpage.  It is always reassuring when an independent industry site features us in this way.  There are many sites that look similar to disabilitymatch, but we have the authenticity and command the respect of our 30.000+ membership.

We are planning some exciting innovations in the coming months which will keep us as the leading disability dating site in the UK.

David Miller

Webmaster

 

Preparing For Naidex.

 

I have just finished putting together my talk for the NAIDEX show.  I am giving 2 seminars at the show, one on Tuesday and the second on Thursday.  I never knew so much work went into doing a powerpoint show – its the first time I’ve used presentation systems.  In the past I always spoke with a flip chart but n ow its gone all high tech and I am using a laptop and a wireless pointer.

I found a friend who was pretty good at preparing thee sorts of slide show and I gave her my script and she worked it into something that looks really good.  I hope you will come along and enjoy it yourselves at the show.  I will be explaining how members of an online disabled dating site can get the best out of their membership and how to create a profile that gets results.  I expect most of the seminar will be dedicated to Q&A and I will also be available after the presentation to give personal guidance and advice to any visitors.

This is a great opportunity to put a ‘Zing’ in your dating skills so don’t miss my talks.

 

David

 

 

 

 

NAIDEX 2017 . Come for Free and Listen to My Seminar

The NAIDEX show is coming and I am a speaker which is very exciting for me as I have never given a seminar at an exhibition before.  Anyway it is always fun to try new things.  The organisers seem to have confidence in me as they have asked me to do 2 slots, Tuesday and Thursday.

I always enjoy the NAIDEX show and it is great fun to try out the latest mobility scooters and race around the exhibition hall on them.  I will be spending my quieter moments on the disabilityhorizons stand so if you are looking for me then that is where to leave me a message.  I would be so happy to meet any of my blog readers at the show, I might even offer you a cup of coffee.  We have our new podcast due to be ready next week and it has some great interviews.

Best wishes

Blind patients Get NHS Bionic Eyes.

This is a great bit of news and coming after the MS drug news my Xmas is feeling super happy.  We often criticise the NHS but here is another wonderful bit of news, this time for people with an inherited form of blindness.

The bionic eye is a retinal implant which interprets images captured by a miniature video camera worn on a pair of glasses.

Five patients will be treated at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and five at Moorfields Eye Hospital in 2017.

They will be monitored for a year afterwards to see how they get on in everyday life.

“I’m delighted,” said Prof Paulo Stanga from the Manchester hospital.

He has been involved in earlier trials of the Argus II Bionic Eye, made by the company Second Sight, in retinitis pigmentosa.

He added: “It surpassed all of our expectations when we realised that one of the retinitis pigmentosa patients using the bionic eye could identify large letters for the first time in his adult life.”

This disease, which is often passed down through families, destroys the light-sensing cells in the retina. It leads to vision loss and eventually blindness.

Keith Hayman, who is 68 and from Lancashire, was fitted with the bionic eye in Manchester.

The former butcher was forced to retire early because of the disease and had been blind for more than two decades.

He said: “Having spent half my life in darkness, I can now tell when my grandchildren run towards me and make out lights twinkling on Christmas trees.

“I would be talking to a friend, who might have walked off and I couldn’t tell and kept talking to myself, this doesn’t happen any more, because I can tell when they have gone.

“I would be talking to a friend, who might have walked off and I couldn’t tell and kept talking to myself, this doesn’t happen any more, because I can tell when they have gone.

“These little things make all the difference to me.”

The bionic eye implant receives its visual information from a miniature camera mounted on glasses worn by the patient.

The images are converted into electrical pulses and transmitted wirelessly to an array of electrodes attached to the retina.

The electrodes stimulate the remaining retina’s remaining cells which send the information to the brain.

Gregoire Cosendai, from Second Sight, says: “This is the first time in history that any treatment for this type of blindness has existed and now it is to be offered free of charge to blind patients.

“This is a major victory for blind people in the UK who have supported us in our six-year mission to fund Argus II in England.”

Dr Jonathan Fielden, from NHS England, said: “This highly innovative NHS-funded procedure shows real promise and could change lives.

“The NHS has given the world medical innovations ranging from modern cataract surgery, new vaccines and hip replacements, now once again the NHS is at the forefront of harnessing ground-breaking science for the benefit of patients in this country.”

We say a big Xmas thank you to the NHS doctors and researchers who have made these advances possible.

New Hope for Multiple Sclerosis Sufferers

 

It has been a long time coming BUT it looks as if scientists have finally come up with a  drug that alters the immune system which has been described as “big news” and a “landmark” in treating multiple sclerosis, doctors and charities say.  If this is the case then Disabilitymatch enthusiastically welcomes this news and hopes that it will be quickly available for our members and the wider disabled community at the earliest possible date.

Trials, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggest the drug can slow damage to the brain in two forms of MS.

Ocrelizumab is the first drug shown to work in the primary progressive form of the disease.

The drug is being reviewed for use in the US and Europe.

MS is caused by a rogue immune system mistaking part of the brain for a hostile invader and attacking it.

It destroys the protective coating that wraps round nerves called the myelin sheath.

The sheath also acts like wire insulation to help electrical signals travel down the nerve.

Damage to the sheath prevents nerves from working correctly and means messages struggle to get from the brain to the body.

This leads to symptoms like having difficulty walking, fatigue and blurred vision.

The disease can either just get worse, known as primary progressive MS, or come in waves of disease and recovery, known as relapsing remitting MS.

Both are incurable, although there are treatments for the second state.

Ocrelizumab kills a part of the immune system – called B cells – which are involved in the assault on the myelin sheath.

In 732 patients with progressive MS, the percentage of patients that had deteriorated fell from 39% without treatment to 33% with ocrelizumab .

Patients taking the drug also scored better on the time needed to walk 25 feet and had less brain loss detected on scans.

In 1,656 patients with relapsing remitting, the relapse rate with ocrelizumab was half that of using another drug.

Prof Gavin Giovannoni, from Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, was involved in the trials and said: “The results shown by these studies have the potential to change how we approach treating both relapsing and primary progressive MS.”

He told the BBC: “It’s very significant because this is the first time a phase three trial has been positive in primary progressive MS.”

More than 100,000 people are diagnosed with MS in the UK, around one-in-five are progressive.

Dr Aisling McMahon, the head of clinical trials at the MS Society, commented: “This is really big news for people with the primary progressive form of multiple sclerosis.

“It’s the first time a treatment has shown the potential to reduce disability progression for this type of MS, which offers a lot of hope for the future.”

The drug is being considered by the European Medicines Agency and the US Food and Drug Administration.

But Prof Giovannoni warned that patients in the UK may be disappointed as it may be hard for the NHS to fund everyone getting a drug that is likely to be expenseive.

He told the BBC: “I would expect a narrow group of people to be eligible.”

Dr Peter Calabresi, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, added: “This is the first drug to show a significant effect in slowing disability progression in a phase three trial in primary progressive multiple sclerosis and therefore represents a landmark study in the field.”

But he warned doctors to “stay vigilant” because of the risk of side-effects.

Weakening the immune system increases the risk of infection and of cancer emerging.

Via bbc.co.uk

Being a Disabled Gay Man in a Grindr-Led World – an Insight.

 

 

This is a fascinating insight into how a disabled man in Toronto interacts with the gay community which is so centred on looks.  How he deals with his experiences is revelatory and worth bringing to our blog.  In a Grindr led gay world of dating the disabled can easily fall through the cracks.

It goes without saying that the gym has become a temple of sorts for many of us in the queer community. I think that if someone wants to take care of their health, and finds the gym to be the place to do it, I think that is really good—for them. But, I don’t think that this is necessarily a fair assessment for everyone, and I’d like to use my experience as a queer cripple to highlight why that is.

As somebody with a significant disability, and a wheelchair user, I have always looked at the gym in a weird way. I understand it’s value and importance to overall bodily health, but I have always had this feeling that they have, in one way or another, been forced on me, as a man with disabilities. It was almost as if I had to go to the gym with some hope of bettering myself, and fixing my disability — eradicating it from me. I remember one exchange I had on Grindr where a guy told me that if I went to the gym with him we could “work off my disability fat.” Another guy suggested that I needed to get out of my chair, and be more fit to be sexy.” These insensitive comments aside, does anybody know what to do with the 300 lbs. of wheelchair that I have attached to me 16 hours of the day?

Let me share with you what my experiences trying to access physical fitness regimes have been like. I enter these spaces in my big, clunky motorized wheelchair, and some conventionally attractive trainer-man, who I am secretly hoping will meet me in the steam room later, works with me. What quickly becomes apparent is that none of the equipment is accessible to my body. I remember one time spending a good twenty minutes with a trainer, falling over an arm bike trying to get one revolution done, but my wheelchair wouldn’t fit. All around me were these “gym-bodied boys” and I couldn’t even use the hand bike? I’m sure I looked real cute that day. All the other equipment wasn’t really usable for me, and as much as I wanted to entice someone to lift me out of my chair, and truly bring my gay gym-gimp fantasy to life, people were concerned about liability. Nobody wants to hurt, break or maim the crippled guy more than he already is, right?

So, if the gym isn’t an option, my next avenue is physical therapy. PT is something that I hated as a child, but something that I have come to accept as an adult. Here is the problem with it that I have had. As a disabled person, where I live in Toronto, you can access physical therapy only four times. This means you are allowed only four meetings with this person, after which you are meant to continue the therapy on your own. Hold up – they know I am disabled, and I can’t even dress myself, right? How am I gonna do this on my own? Add to this, the fact that they want me to lift nothing more than one-pound weights – because anything else might be a “liability issue.”

Ugh. So, what can I do to get fit? Where does one queer crippled guy go to obtain the body that the app-holes are thirsting for? Spaces like the gym, filled to the brim with beautiful bodies and bulging boys, are so often not designed with my disability in mind. The messaging I hear in the gym is loud and clear: I need to be fixed, but there’s nothing we can really do for you here. This is further proof that my queer crippled body has no real value, as it is.

The next time you tell a disabled guy that they just need to work out, think about the privilege that comes with that statement. The next time you tell a guy that you can’t fuck him because he doesn’t look fit enough for you; think about just how unfair that is, about how he may have tried really hard to get in shape in spite of all his needs, and was denied at every turn, because the service providers were unsure of how to assist him. Also, the next time I see a message about my supposed fitness from you, I might just have to reply: “Do you even crip, bro?”

I am sure from that this story will resonate with the LGBT disabled UK community and the highlighted attitudes devalue even more the lack of self-esteem that many disabled people feel.

Via huffingtonpost.com

Great End to 2016, Looking Forward to an Amazing 2017.

This year finished for me on a high note after a period of ill health and a bit of surgery. I decided to go off to Majorca, Spain to recuperate and rest and whilst I was there I had the great pleasure of meeting up with our dear friend Martyn Sibley from disability horizons who was attending a Handisport conference to promote accessibility for the disabled.  When i saw Martyn he confided in me that he had been voted as the 3rd most influential disabled person in the UK.  This is an honour he truly deserves.  Nobody has done more for campaigning on accessible travel and normalising disability  in our country.

My next trip is to other side of Europe – up north in Finland where i have many friends and family.  Funnily enough a really cool video promoting a Finnish dating site  just passed across my desk and frankly it is so much better than the usual cheaply presented dating videos from Finland which is the poor man of dating promotions in Europe.

I enjoy looking at how other niche dating sites promote their offers and this offering from flirttideitti.fi is visually very nice indeed.  OK. that was a ‘shout out’ now back to disabilitymatch which has been adding new members at a rate of knots. I have also been delighted at just how well our podcast has been doing.  we have had hundreds of downloads for our episodes and, not just in the UK.  We have podcast subscribers in Canada and Australia and we get social media coverage for the podcast all around the world.

I do recommend that you follow me on twitter @disabilitymatch where I tweet every day about things that are happening in the world of disability and in the wider worls of medical innovations.  Finally we have rebuilt our store http://shop.disabilitymatch.co.uk and we are starting to get orders.  We will be giving 15% of our shop profits to disability charities so if you need to buy a wheelchair or a disabled bed or a commode and many other things do buy from us because we will donate profits to a good cause.

Back soon

 

David