ROLE MODELS Three inspiring women who have proved they can overcome any physical obstacle
MAY Stone campaigns tirelessly to raise public awareness of a life-threatening lung disease.
The 52-year-old grandmother, from Penilee in Glasgow, has suffered from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (PF) for the past five years, but has had symptoms of the disease since 1998.
Pulmonary fibrosis causes the lung tissue to thicken and become stiff, while the scarring stops oxygen from entering the bloodstream, so May carries an oxygen tank to help her breathe. She has set up an internet group for people with PF to share information. It receives 800 messages a month and has 250 members.
The only cure is a lung transplant and May has joined the Evening Times campaign to persuade the Scottish Government to switch to a system for opting out, instead of the current opting in, for organ donation.
Medical experts do not know how people contract PF, but it can be linked to prolonged exposure to occupational or environmental contaminants or dust.Many workers who helped with the rescue and clean-up operation after the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York were diagnosed with PF after being exposed to potentially lethal substances.
But the grandmother of Thomas, two, and five-month-old Maria knows it is essential to provide the correct information about the disease, as internet searches often reveal only frightening statistics about early death, something she is fighting to overcome.
Now May wants to set up a trust to raise funds as well as awareness. Her hard work and dedication despite her debilitating illness makes her a worthy nomineer.
Dame Evelyn Glennie describes herself as a motivational speaker, composer, educationalist and jewellery designer, but it’ is as a percussionist that she has become world-famous. Despite being deaf since she was 12, Evelyn was the first person to achieve a full-time career as a solo percussionist. She says: “I simply hear in a different way to most people.”
Since graduating with an Honours degree from the Royal Academy of Music, in London – where she was told not to pursue her dream by careers advisers – Evelyn has performed with top orchestras and for world leaders around the globe. She has blurred the boundaries between classical, pop and dance, working with, among others, Bjork, Bobby McFerrin and Sting,
A double Grammy award-winner and Bafta nominee, Aberdeen-born Evelyn, 46, remains in demand as a composer and records for film, TV and music libraries. She has also presented Sound Bites for the BBC, plays up to 60 instruments including the gamelan, xylophone, marimba, timpani and bagpipes, and has 1800 instruments crammed into her Cambridgeshire home. She also keeps percussion kits in six countries to facilitate her hectic touring schedule.
She is vice-president of Hearing Concern and Deafness Research UK. Evelyn has also collaborated with Scottish jewellery firm Ortak, on her ancestral home of the Orkney Isles. She has also been part of a successful lobby for more money for music education with Sir James Galway and Julian Lloyd Webber.
ADVENTURER Julie McElroy has climbed mountains – both literally and metaphorically – to pave the way for disabled people to access the outdoors.
The 26-year-old from Jordanhill, in Glasgow, has cerebral palsy and mobility problems and is profoundly deaf in both ears. But she has canoed across lochs, trekked in the Himalayas, been out with a mountain rescue crew and done much more to show other young disabled people that they can enjoy adventure pursuits.
She is an ambassador for Bobath Scotland, a charity which helps children with cerebral palsy, and in March cycled from Edinburgh to Glasgow to raise funds. Julie is currently researching for a PhD in assistive technology (part-time) such as voice recognition, which can help disabled people, at the University of the West of Scotland.
She believes it is time for disabled people to overcome the preconceptions of others and to stand up and lead others to greater independence, access and freedom and her motto is “drive, motivation, passion”. She is driven by the desire to have the same opportunities as everybody else, despite her disability.
In November, Julie achieved her John Muir Conserver Award, the highest level of the environmental award scheme. She has completed four adventure challenges including a 20-mile paddle up Loch Shiel in a canoe, hiked up Helvellyn, the third largest mountain in the Lake District in below-freezing conditions, and gone out with the Lomond Mountain Rescue team to prove disabled people can access the outdoors. She set up the Wilderness Initiative for People with Disabilities and took six disabled youngsters on an outdoor adventure weekend in Arran in October.
Julie has been to Number 10 Downing Street to meet the wife of the prime minister, Samantha Cameron, whose son Ivan died in 2009 after suffering from cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
Julie works tirelessly despite her disability, and is a worthy nominee for this year’s Scotswoman of the Year award.
THEY are the women who make life that bit easier for the people around them.
And they are potential Scotswomen of the Year. This year the 49th ‘Swoty’ will be crowned in the City Chambers, and this is your opportunity to nominate someone who you think deserves the accolade.
Today Sarah Swain and Matty Sutton highlight three women who have made a difference to other people’s lives.
Taken from the Evening Times Newspaper dated Wednesday 11 January 2012
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