Adam Dickinson on helping people to accept disability

The community fundraising manager at the disability charity Sports Able says losing a leg propelled him into the third sector

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson

The charity is about talking to people about what's going on and how sport can help them come to terms with disability - and when they do that I feel we've been successful. It took six years for me to work up the courage to admit I was disabled. I lost my left leg because of cancer and the operation to remove it left me with paraplegia. I was aged 20 when it was first discovered and 23 when I had the amputation.

At 29, I had just moved into my own flat and realised I needed to get myself out, so I joined Sports Able and have since taken up archery, kayaking, air weapons and wheelchair basketball, as well as taking part in wheelchair and handbike races.

After four years as a member of the club I was ready to go back to work and landed the role of community fundraising manager for the charity.

Self-confidence was one of my biggest challenges. I'd been out of work for 10 years, so I was nervous about getting a job and it has been a struggle. It's taken a while to build that confidence, but I've come a long way.

I'm quite happy to talk about work and to give presentations. I hope to increase my hours and take on more high-level commercial work with different companies, as well as working at grass-roots level.

I enjoy seeing people's confidence come back. Members who come to events and get involved in street collections, find it gives them a purpose. It can be tricky getting people involved in this type of event because it's quite an old-school way of doing things. Sometimes they feel like they're begging, so we also have events where people can raise money by showing off their sports skills. People prefer this because they're proving that a disability doesn't stop you from doing what you enjoy.

This is what Sports Able is about - showing what people can do, rather than what they can't do.

Sports Able is a sports disability charity, dedicated to the promotion of awareness of disability through sport and recreational activity, and the integration of disabled and able-bodied people

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