Becoming a superhero
Ali Hemsley, disabled influencer and activist, talks about her advocacy work and summer fundraising challenge.
Whenever someone sends me a message or leaves a comment saying that I've helped them feel more confident about their health, it makes my day!
This Summer, I will be taking part in the 'At Home Superheroes' Challenge'.
Starting on 17 July, I will be doing four 10k walks across the beautiful East Sussex coastline: Bexhill, Eastbourne, Seaford and Brighton, to raise money for Leonard Cheshire.
This challenge is all about the disabled community coming together (virtually!) to have fun and share our successes within sport.
My disability journey
I have chronic illnesses, as well as hip dysplasia and FAI, which required surgery last year. I have been using the At Home Superheroes challenge to motivate myself throughout all the intense physiotherapy and exercise needed for recovery. I have gathered my superhero costumes and practised my poses to make sure I am fully prepared for the challenge.
Fortunately, my friends and family have been my cheerleaders. They will be with me every step of the way. Whether that's supporting me throughout my disability journey, as well as during this fundraiser.
What my activism looks like
As an online disability influencer, I have been able to connect with so many people and make a lot of friends. I can talk to people who are going through the same things. Whenever someone sends me a message or leaves a comment saying that I've helped them feel more confident about their health, it makes my day!
Within my activism, I hope to show that chronic illness and invisible disabilities don't have a 'look' and can affect anyone. People have often commented that I don't 'look ill' or told me I'm too young to have these problems. I spent years pretending not to be ill, which caused more harm.
Nowadays, I am open and honest about my conditions, sharing advice on setting boundaries and asking for support, despite the trolls and negative comments. I am stronger, healthier, and more motivated.
Why I'm taking on the challenge
I will be walking to support Leonard Cheshire's work because it is a brilliant charity that does so much for disability rights, promotes inclusion and accessibility, and challenges discrimination.
Leonard Cheshire makes the world a better place for disabled people!
I hope this fundraiser helps Leonard Cheshire to carry on their vital work, especially following the impact that Covid-19 had on disabled people. I want other people to feel as empowered as I do, so they can set their own goals and become At Home Superheroes.