Being part of a special event in someone else’s life is a privilege

Marie with her family
Marie with her family

I started visiting Marie as communicator guide in her nursing home in December 2013. I took this up as part of my care role at the Sense Tanglewood residential home, mainly to do something a little different. Marie’s previous communicator guides had to travel a long way to be with her and I lived quite close by. It was through this role that I had the opportunity to assist Marie on a rare visit home.

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How my marathon run inspired students who are deafblind to get involved

A man and boy smiling
Ben and a student from Rothwell Resource Centre

My first step into a career in the care sector began three and a half years ago when I became a Learning Support Assistant with Sense College’s Rothwell Resource Centre.

Ever since then, my life has taken off. By the end of that first week I knew that this was where and what I wanted to be. I am passionate to provide the best service for our students; it is the reason I work here and why I am running the Milton Keynes Marathon on 1 May, raising money for our centre.

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How my parents inspired me to run the London Marathon

Young man with his mum and dad

Growing up as an only child with two profoundly deaf parents meant I experienced first-hand the challenges of living with the loss of a sense. There are so many difficult situations that come with sensory loss that go beyond simply not being able to see or hear, such as the ability to communicate.

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How a personal connection inspired me to run the Virgin Money London Marathon for Sense

Smiling woman in pink vest running

Sense is part of my family and always has been. In 1978 my brother Robert was born deaf and blind, and with a heart defect – all because my mum caught rubella at three months pregnant. Rob is older than me, but as I grew up, I remember all the fights and battles my parents faced. But one thing was consistent – that my family always had Sense’s support.

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Scott’s journey towards being a rock star

A boy drummingAs Manager of the Sense Resource Centre in Wakefield, I’ve known Scott, who comes along every week, for over six years. He’s been on an amazing journey since we first met – and the transformation in him has been huge.

When I first came into contact with Scott he had a number of problems. He’d just lost the placement where he was living because of his behaviour, and had also spent time in hospital, where he gained a lot of weight. This really affected his health and self-esteem.

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Now that’s contrast!

People wearing yellow high visibility tops and hard hats walking through a building site
A ‘Hard Hat Days’ tour of the TouchBase Pears site

One of the most important things, if not, the most important for VIs (visually impaired) is contrast.

At one of the recent ‘Hard Hat Day’ site tours for Sense’s TouchBase Pears community hub being built in Birmingham, I shared with visitors how important accessible design is to those who are visually impaired and those who will use the building. I covered contrast, lighting and the realities of being visually impaired and the importance of toilet design.

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Life through a lens: my lifelong love of photography

A framed print with a thick wooden frame, landscape image of a cityscape.
A framed print,  in preparation for his exhibition

Every time I take a photograph I put my heart and soul into my work. I have been fortunate enough to capture some creative people through my career. Meeting the singer Lisa Stansfield was an honour, and to take her portrait was amazing. She is a beautiful woman; really witty and creative.

It was in my teens when my eyesight began to deteriorate, due to having Usher syndrome. This didn’t diminish my love of photography, though – and I’ve been taking and exhibiting my pictures for years.
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#GivingTuesday

Two young boys with their mother and pet cat
This Giving Tuesday we’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported us throughout the year. Sense supports people who are deafblind, have sensory impairments or complex needs to enjoy more independent lives, and we couldn’t do it without you.

From donating and volunteering, to taking part in an event, here’s a rundown of some of the ways you can help. And if you’d like to do something quickly, you can text SENSE to 70111 to donate £3 (T&Cs).  Thank you.

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My marathon (and half marathon, and 10k…) challenge

Nick Shaw running in the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon
Nick Shaw running in the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon

I signed up to run the 2016 London Marathon for Sense in memory of my dad. He was registered blind in his final years, and it had a big impact both on his life and ours.

I wanted to make a difference (and raise some money) by competing in what is probably the ultimate long distance running event. What I didn’t realise at the time, though, was that London was just the start of my challenge.

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