Featuring Gemma Orton of “Wheelescapades”
Gemma runs an interesting blog called “Wheelescapades”, which covers much ground on life with disability and accessibility. Despite being in a wheelchair, she still travels, attends concerts and high tea sessions, and lives a full life. I participated in the “Twenty Questions” series on her blog, and it was by far the most fun interview I’d ever done! In return, here are 20 of my own questions for her. Let’s get to know a fellow spoonie better!
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- If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Oh this is a tricky one. I’d like to try them all, try before you buy kind of thing. Plus sometimes these things can be more hassle than they are worth. Super hearing and then you overhear something you wish you hadn’t! Being somebody that has very restricted mobility I’d quite like to experience flying, or have super strength. (Lifting a mug of tea can be quite a chore for me!). Teleportation would be fun though. I think I’ll pick that.
- What do you think the world will be like in 2050? (We should still be around to check back, if all goes well ;))
Currently I don’t have good feelings about the future. Although I’m interested to find out how technology and medical treatment would have evolved, I am concerned about human nature. Will community and kindness be even more of a rarity? Will the rich just get richer and the poor poorer? I fear that divides will be greater. I fear the NHS will be long forgotten.
- You just won $10 million in the lottery. What are the first three things you’d do with the winnings?
Make sure that my close friends and family are secure, free of financial worries, have a home to live in.
Design and build a fully accessible house for myself.
Spend money on experiences. Visit places, eat in fancy restaurants, see shows, have a weekly massage. Basically live the high life for a bit. Until eventually I’m sure I will bore of this.
- What would your dream wheelchair be like?
My dream wheelchair would be able to access anywhere and travel on all terrain. It would climb stairs, be a hovercraft, drive through snow, shingle and mud. It would be slimline, comfortable and discrete.
- What are your top three favourite animals, and what qualities do you admire in them?
Cats would probably be my animal of choice. Also the animal I’d choose to be. I like their grace, self respect, the way you have to earn respect from them and they take no nonsense. Cats always look comfortable and can get in the most cosy places. A cat chooses its companions wisely, and doesn’t just give out affection to anybody.
I know this is just one animal, but there are many cats. My list would go – domestic cat (I have two). Lion (so fluffy!). Panther (mysterious).
- Where’s your favourite haunt around your neighbourhood?
Well the small town where I live doesn’t have all that much to offer. Much of my ‘out’ time is spent in Norwich, my nearest city. There are some amazing places in Norwich, I’ve blogged about a few of them. But my favourite is somewhere I discovered mostly while at Art School. Norwich Playhouse. This welcoming, cozy and arty bar/cafe/theatre is somewhere I spent many lunch breaks and study days while at Art School, and love to visit still for a brew, wine or to see a show. I’ve written a blog about Norwich Playhouse.
- If you could have a career in sports, what would you pick?
Sorry but I’m really not into sports, never have been. It’s one of the last things I’d want a career in. Maybe I could design and make the uniform/kit? Does that count?
- If you had to pick one alcohol to drink, what’s your poison?
Red wine. There’s not much like a glass of fruity red. Other than tea obviously.
- Which culture do you find the most interesting?
Ohh this is a hard one! It’s the differences between cultures I find most fascinating I suppose. This is one of the reasons I would love to go travelling.
- The strangest ‘win’ about your disabilities?
I would say jumping queues, getting free or discounted tickets to things. But really it has to be learning to appreciate what you have and what you can do. Treasuring the small stuff. Having patience and gratitude. Also meeting some brilliant people!
- If you were Queen of the entire world, what three values would your society operate on?
Kindness. Integrity. Equality.
- What’s something you find fun, but majority of people do not?
I don’t think there’s anything too obscure. I enjoy a day spent in a museum or art gallery. I’m obsessed with crochet, and have been since way before it became ‘on trend’! I like taking photos of random wall and floor textures. If anyone that knows me can think of something weird let me know!
- Let’s say tea became extinct (oh no! ;p), what liquid would you be forced to replace it with?
I drink a lot of water in between teas, so I couldn’t live without water. I enjoy a coffee, but only the proper cafe kind as I don’t have any fancy gadgets at home.
- What are some fashion tips you have for young ladies in wheelchairs?
Converse are the answer to all shoes. Easy to get on and off when you don’t have any strength in your foot, comfortable to wear when you are in the same position all day.
- If you could donate a $ 1billion fund to any but only one charity/society, what would you pick?
My initial thought was MDUK (Muscular Dystrophy UK) for all the crucial research they do, advice and support they offer. However I then thought of Helen and Douglas House, who provide support in the here and now for many different people with various conditions. They are also run solely by charity donation and fundraising.
One billion is a lot. I’m not one to stick to the rules. I’m halving my donation between the two! As this is all just theoretical, and both these organisations need as much support as possible I’ve included links for you to find out about ways in which you can help. Just sharing this would be a start:
Muscular Dystrophy UK
Helen and Douglas House
- Is there an alternative treatment you’d like to try, but fear the risks of?
For SMA there is no ‘alternative’ treatment that I feel would benefit myself. There are treatments currently being used on patients, that have passed trials and are showing to be effective. But living in the U.K., being 32 years old, and having type 2 SMA the odds are stacked against me, and the chances of me ever getting the opportunity to have the Nusinersen/Spinraza treatment is almost zero.
I have to add here that the treatments being used are in no way a cure, more of a stabiliser and slight strength gainer. Still, that is almost a miracle.
- What’s your favourite hair colour?
I’ve really enjoyed being a redhead for the past couple of years.
- What are the top 3 – 5 things on your bucket list?
I don’t really have a bucket list, I’m not somebody that has ambitions as such. I’m not the swimming with dolphins kind. I quite like to plod along and see what happens. I’ve been asked this question previously though and three things I would really like to experience are – Florence in Italy (when I learn to teleport!). Glastonbury festival. A very white Christmas. I realise this last one is out of my control unless I travel to somewhere snowy…I quite like the idea of Christmas in a log cabin with a fire and hot chocolate.
- Which of the seven deadly sins do you embody the most?
I would say it’s probably Gluttony. I always want more than I need and more than I can eat. If I see something tasty I need to try it.
- If you could speak, read and write in another language proficiently, what would you pick?
Italian. It would help greatly for ordering pizza, ice cream and coffee if I ever get the chance to go. I love how focussed and impassioned the language sounds. Unlike us indecisive Brits! Joke. I love England and wouldn’t live anywhere else.
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