Sharon shares her story on showing the world what she can do #OICAN
“Sharon, you can’t…” Actually, I can!
Born with Brittle Bone Disease in the 70’s I grew up hearing “Sharon you can’t” too many times to mention.
Sharon you can’t run. Sharon you can’t join in. Sharon you can’t climb that. Sharon you can’t..
It was always sad to hear, but I knew everyone throughout my childhood meant well and wanted to protect me from another fracture. By the age of 17 I had had roughly 35 fractures and I knew all too well the pain and time required to heal and I’m sure I had exhausted my close family and friends who had helped me through all the visits to hospital and operations to fix broken bones, especially my poor parents and grandparents.
However, I seemed to gain from this experience and instead of letting it hold me back, it seemed to give me an energy from somewhere to find out what I could do in life and to ensure I did my best to achieve great things. Changing the voices from Sharon you can’t – to Sharon you can!!!
Although I missed a lot of school growing up due to time off for fractures, I managed to graduate from university with a 2:1 honours degree and become an accountant. I’m currently working in a global oil and gas company in Glasgow and I just love my job.
Although fearful wondering if my body would be able to bear a child, I gave birth to a beautiful son called Ryan who avoided the 50% chance of me passing on OI to him. He is 16, doing great at school, enjoys playing football and is heading to being 6 foot tall.
I also help a lot in my local community of Dumbarton including volunteering at a local youth group. I’m treasurer of a local youth football club, and I am also on the Dumbarton Town Centre Forum promoting shop local campaigns and encouraging local business.
I also enjoy fundraising and obviously as I’m not one to throw myself out of aeroplanes or down the side of buildings, I found a challenge that many able-bodied people wouldn’t be able to do – I’m completing a sponsored fire walk in May. Wish me luck!
Other than the Blue Sclera, I do not have any visible symptoms of OI. It is only obvious when I am healing from fractures. (I now have a tally of approximately 50 fractures, and this was especially apparent in 2012 when I managed to fracture 4 limbs at once during a simple fall onto the pavement.) I therefore most of the time think of my condition as a hidden disability. I decided to try to raise awareness of OI and other hidden disabilities within my company and I’ve recently joined their Diversity & Inclusion Committee where we are putting together an awareness campaign throughout our UK offices to recognise, celebrate and understand hidden disabilities in the workplace. I’ll certainly be promoting Wishbone Day in May to raise awareness of OI and how from weakness can come strength and employing disabled people can add so much to a company.
I do believe that with any challenges in life, you need to recognise your limits, but understand that there are so many opportunities out there and all you have to do is search them out and go for it!