JULIE COMPLETES HER GLASGOW CHALLENGE

JULIE MCELROY has taken part in the Great Scottish Run 10K on Sunday 2 September 2012 which is sponsored by the Bank of Scotland. She was joined on route with two friends.

Julie born was with Cerebral Palsy resulting in leaving her with speech, hearing and mobility difficulties.  Despite this, she has never let anything stand in her way.  The medical staff was quite vague about the future and could not predict the outcome.   Doctor’s could not initially foretell if Julie could ever walk and her parents were advised to just wait and see.

Julie says ‘I am glad to have joined in the Great Scottish Run like everyone else and soaked up the atmosphere; it was incredible to have been part of it.  It was a ‘REAL’ challenge for me’.

The main reason for taking part in it along with everyone else as this year been a great year and it is further emphasized by the LONDON 2012 Paralympics taking place at the moment but I would like to acknowledge the inspiration from the Evening Times ‘s Scotswomen of Year, the ladies decided to challenge my fitness further and the Editor’s impetus that inspired me to put this challenge into action”.

I power walked it in just over two hours and one thing that makes it more remarkable and people with Cerebral Palsy are prone to pains! I encountered no stitches or pain or anything, thats what I call transformational of endurance power! Therefore combining fitness/sports along with disability makes your body stronger.

Apart from foot’s blisters, it was certainly worth the pace of achievement!

Julie's Great Scottish Run

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Julie’s Glasgow Challenge

JULIE MCELROY is to take part in the Great Scottish Run on Sunday 2 September 2012 which is sponsored by the Bank of Scotland.

Julie born was with Cerebral Palsy resulting in leaving her with speech, hearing and mobility difficulties. Despite this, she has never let anything stand in her way. The medical staff was quite vague about the future and could not predict the outcome. Doctor’s could not initially foretell if Julie could ever walk and her parents were advised to just wait and see. However, a remarkable outcome lay ahead in store for Julie and thus the beginning of many new varied ventures started to unfold determining possibilities beyond belief.

Julie says “the reason for undertaking my first 10K was the inspiration from the Evening Times ‘s Scotswomen of Year, the ladies decided to challenge my fitness further and the Editor’s impetus that inspired me to put this challenge into action”. She goes onto say “I decided to investigate whether they would allows disabled people to walk it as running isn’t my greatest strength at the moment due to the severe complexity of my walking gait and that was what got really the ball rolling”.

Julie will be accompanied by Jacqueline Mackenzie Robb who has worked with Julie previously as a Note taker at University of the West of Scotland. Jacqueline says “Julie is an inspiration to all society both to able bodied people and those with disabilities. It is with great admiration for her and confidence that she will continue with her ventures and grow and develop to achieve her aspirations and dreams. I have found and continue to find it a privilege working with Julie, and during this period, I believe Julie has many talents. The one that I have found to be the most outstanding is her talent to be able to motivate and inspire people for the benefit of society in all walks of life, and her sense of humour in which I can relate too”.

Julie goes on to quote “since I’ve seen the bestowed effect of keeping up my physical strength, it also give your confidence a boost” and for someone like her, she has encountered functional benefits of doing exercises and therefore an improved quality of life by engaging in regular resistance training (RT). She has confronted a renewed confidence which has inspired her to take her fitness to another level which has seen a dramatic improvement in her endurance and balance co-ordination.

I hope this event will demonstrate what disabled people can participate in even if it involves walking or power walking. This is an opportunity to be part of an fantastic event.

Editor Notes and Media Enquires:

• Evening Times, Scotland’s top selling evening paper, go to http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk

BBC SCOTLAND: The Adventure Show

BBC SCOTLAND – ‘The Adventure Show – ‘Strathpuffer’

Featured: Julie McElroy

The Strathpuffer programme, which includes the feature with Julie McElroy, will be broadcast on: Tuesday 13th March at 1900 – BBC 2 Scotland; Sky 990; FreeSat 970; Virgin (don’t know the channel) and iPlayer.

Adventure Show Series 7 Programme 8 – Strathpuffer 24: 2012

In the middle of winter, with 17 hours of darkness, 500 competitors head north of Inverness for one of the world’s toughest mountain bike races, the Strathpuffer 24 hour marathon. And once again, this year conditions are testing – as we follow the hardiest of competitors – the solo riders.

Also in this month’s Adventure Show, we’ll be discovering the easy way to carry all your kit on a long distance bike ride. Cameron McNeish and Deziree Wilson will be heading into the hills to check out the latest gear that’s available. And we’ll be joining a remarkable woman, Julie McElroy who was born with cerebral palsy, but that hasn’t deterred her from following a life of adventure

Presenters: Dougie Vipond and Duncan McCallum
Producer: Margaret Wicks
Executive Producers: Richard Else and David Harron
Production for BBC Scotland

India Exploits

Imagine discovering the country of India which conjures up images of lush green paddy fields, brightly coloured saris, jasmine scented incense, ancient palaces and adorned maharajahs. A huge country, India is often known as the Indian subcontinent; at 3,287,240 km2 it makes number 7 on the top ten largest countries by landmass on earth.

Now imagine undertaking this challenge with a physical disability along with four able bodies guys from Rolls-Royce, discovering breath-taking mountains of the Himalayas as well as spending time in the slums of Delhi working on a local community project which caters for disabled children.

Julie McElroy from Glasgow, Scotland did just that, she flew out to Delhi with the boys from Rolls Royce naming Alan Mileham, Colin Summers, Graeme Hughes and Gordon Barr. She was born with Cerebral Palsy which has resulted in a mobility problem such as having walking difficulty.  She also has a mild speech impairment along with a manual dexterity problem and is profoundly deaf and wear two hearing aids.

Since childhood, Julie have embarked on various challenges and spearheading new initiatives however this latest challenge was going to take her into terrority  to see firsthand how some of the poorest disabled children lives in India and scaling new heights in the Himalayas. This exploit was to be completely different but was a desire that Julie had longed wished for to join an able bodies group on an expedition as she wants to embraced inclusion among her able bodies peers. When asking Alan and Colin about Julie joining them on the Indian’s expedition ‘The team have had limited exposure to disabled people and no prior experience with disabled adults. However we have a good team working spirit and early on we wanted Julie to be part of our team. Though good spirit and intentions are not always enough, I think that a little more research about the terrain and techniques for assisting people could have better prepare us for the Himalayas with Julie’.

In the build-up preparation, Julie forged a firm friendship with theboys as they set about climbing Ben Lomond together. This was great day out Julie recalled as it was good team-building day and this allowed the boys to see firsthand how I coped with the uneven terrain however she confessed she was extremely lucky to be given this opportunity and felt reassured to be in capable hands with the strongest boys on the planet!

Julie’s easiness and her ability to get on with anyone, she alleviated the fears and concerns that the boys of Rolls Royce had as Alan cited from ‘Our initial contact with Julie was via e-mail and a good rapport was quickly built up, I guess putting us at ease with each other. The team were a little nervous prior to meeting Julie mainly down to concerns around communicating (deafness and speech)this was quickly put at ease when we realised we could easily understand Julie and with a little thought Julie could understand us (if we were talking directly to her).  “Also I found myself adapting very quickly after meeting Julie. In the way that I talk, ensuring not to put my hands over my mouth when speaking and always addressing her face to face to allow her to lip read more’.

On arrival in Delhi, the team’s first stop was to visit the slums of Delhi and to pay a visit to the community project that the team would be working on. The project is runs by a charity called Deepalaya, is a non -government development organization working on issues affecting the urban and rural poor, with a special focus on children. It is because ‘Every child deserves a chance’ that the organization exists and works towards making that possible. For the past 32 years Deepalaya has been working in the urban slums of Delhi and has also made inroads into rural development in the states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

For Julie, this was a personal and emotional journey to see some of the disabled children that lives in the slums as she commented when you see it on the TV’s news, you take an interests in it but when you come out to witness it for yourself it gives you a completely different prescriptive on how these children live and survive daily. It also made me realized how fortunate we are to have access to good health service.

Just walking through the slums of Delhi with Alan and our guide, it was unbelievable, poor sanitation, malnourished children, the smell says it all. It truly opens your eyes to how these poor disadvantage children survived. One thing that I was constantly aware of although I got used to it, is the amount of Indian people looking at you, if you were Western then they were bounce to scared at you but if you had a disability the scaring becomes noticeable as in India, people with disabilities are not seen in public, we saw some Indians with disabilities crawling on the street.  Even working on the community project, we interacted with the children who have profound learning disabilities.

What really saddened me is that during my years of education we had technologies to aids us with our learning and I believed without a doubt if these children were provided a basic laptop this would enhanced their intellectual ability rather than struggle to write on a piece of paper. India is still a developing country and still has a long way to when it will embrace people with disability as in the same way as the UK, they are now recognizing the talents of disabled people.

On meeting Julie, she possesses the drive and determination to leads an independent life however during her trek in the Himalayas she admitted this was far harder than all her previous exploits as she was among an able bodies group. I found the terrain in the Himalayas tough at times to walk on. It was so frustrating and emotional at times because I kept falling a lot whereas at home I rarely fall.

First thing she noticed that the terrain was completely different as when she out in the countryside back in Scotland, she uses her walking poles to assists her whereas in India she relied on help from the boys and the boys were happy to provide assistance saying that
When Julie finally allowed us to support we quickly developed a good technique, that with the support of two of the team we could get over a range of different obstacles on the assent. It was very clear to me that Julie was having to work around twice as hard as her able-bodied team mates. The main thing we all noticed was Julies determination and she gained the respect of the team through her tenacity and toughness’. Nobody there was in any doubt that Julie gave 100% effort on the day and pushed herself to the limits of her abilities‘.

The community project was my most rewarding experience out of the whole trip because she could understand and empathized with the children’s difficulties. Whereas the Himalayas presented her with even greater challenges however this trek in the Himalayas has inspired Julie to decide what she will do next!

For Julie and the boys of Rolls Royce, although this intensive expedition was challenging, it has changed them in how the perceived about life, forces Julie and boys about assumptions of someone having a disability who equally capable as Colin puts it ‘travelling with Julie has changed some preconceptions I had around people with disabilities in a positive way’.

Personally for Julie, she feels this trek had marked a new vision in her life. When asking what she will do next she says ‘That would be telling!’

YOUNG SCOTS ADVENTURESS PUSHES HER DISABILITIES ASIDE TO CLIMB A MOUNTAIN HIGHER

Remarkable young Scots adventuress Julie McElroy – who has cerebral palsy – is embarking on a formidable challenge to climb the Himalayas in five days to raise money and awareness for a Scottish charity that provides vital therapy for children with the same condition.

Although Julie’s cerebral palsy means she has serious walking difficulties, co-ordination, and speech and profound hearing impairment, along with manual dexterity problems, she is determined to climb the Himalayas in aid of the Bobath Scotland Children’s Cerebral Palsy Therapy Centre.

Twenty five-year-old identical twin Julie – who received specialist therapy at the Bobath centre in Glasgow as a youngster – is embarking on ‘Julie’s Bobath Challenge’ on September 30, to help Scotland’s children with cerebral palsy.

It’s not the first time feisty Julie has demonstrated that through determination, self-belief, drive and stamina, people with cerebral palsy can push the boundaries and realise their full potential.

Julie, who again proved her determination to push the boundaries by recently completing the Sirius Environmental Leadership Scholarship with Wilderness Foundation UK which consisted of canoeing and wild camping in the north-west of Scotland in Loch Shiel.

She says “ I hope my zest for life will help in it 16-year history, Bobath Scotland help hundreds of children to realise their potential and live life to the full, as I have always done.

“The Himalayas challenge, I hope, will spearhead in the coming year in a bid to highlight the wonderful work of this children’s charity. Bobath Scotland has made such a difference to the lives of so many families like my own, and I’m proud to be associated with it.”

Jim Campbell, chairman of Bobath Scotland, said: “Of all the talented, ambitious and motivated young people I’ve been privileged
to meet over the years, Julie must surely be among the most remarkable.

“She is a true inspiration, and our charity is proud to have such an admirable ambassador to fly the flag for Bobath Scotland.”