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This year Disability Awareness Day celebrated its 25th anniversary. Sharon Forsdyke tells us of her experience of the day:

It’s 1991 and I’m preparing for the next leg of my UK coastal tour while struggling with a painful undiagnosed neck condition. Fast forward to 2016 and I have completed my 84th set of botulinum toxin injections for neck dystonia and I’m on a minibus travelling back to the Park and Ride in Warrington. That morning I was the only passenger; now the bus is full of chattering, bag-laden people and I’m shattered, as I’ve been on my feet most of the day.

But what a day! I have been helping on the Dystonia Society stand at the 25th Disability Awareness Day at Walton Hall Gardens. Our stand was well placed in Marquee 4 beside the Lyneal Trust, which offers canal based holidays for people with disabilities, and opposite the Multiple Sclerosis stall.

Initially our visitors were event volunteers, including Janet Ireland, Information and Advice Officer at the Brain Charity based in Norton Street, where the Liverpool dystonia support group hold their meetings.

Around 9.30am the public started to trickle in and soon there was a steady flow of people asking inquisitive questions about Jane Hewertson’s marvellous display boards.

Jane, Pat Rathbone and I took it in turns to man the stand and wander the gardens, collecting leaflets and connecting with some of the other 250 exhibitors whilst proudly wearing our brightly coloured dystonia t-shirts.

We took a few donations, sold some merchandise and engaged with 74 visitors, some allied to the medical profession, including physios, occupational therapists and nurses. Many had never even heard of dystonia.

Roll on D.A.D 2017!

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