Each year I think that this year is the best, nothing can beat it…..and yet…I know 2019 will be amazing before we really even start. 2018, is the year that will live long in my heart and my memories.

January I unexpectedly had to move when my landlord sold the flat from under me. February seemed to be all about making choices, colours, fabrics, furniture and accessories. March I moved into my own lifetime home, a place of peace and calm. Somewhere that is mine alone. It has been built to my specification and the years of planning have paid off, I have the space, equipment and technology to give me the life I want.

April was a time of frenziness, the builders were still in and out of my house daily whilst I tried to study and recover from a couple of ear infections. It was like living on the Shambles when the tourists descend. Meanwhile Boccia started well for 2018 with qualification from the Heathcoat to the Boccia England Finals.  I also did my first RaceRunning event of the year getting PBs in 100m, 200m and 400m (and golds). Throughout the year my studies always took priority, in April and May I was working hard for my final assessed work which included exams!! Not my forte, exams test my physical stamina and as I tire my mental alertness deteriorates….fortunately my other marks pulled me through.   I competed at the Boccia England National Finals and whilst not doing as well as I would have liked learned a huge amount both about elite BC3 competition and myself, and I was on the track again whenever I could for RaceRunning, including for the York RaceRunning Club launch (thanks to City of York Athletics Club for their support).

June saw me submitting my final work for uni late, but getting good marks. And then only 2 weeks to cram in 101 things before we flew off the Australia for 26 days. July, well WOW what at an amazing experience….we took my RaceRunner and I ran every day, mostly along sea fronts, but also on the Gold Coast to the conference centre from our apartment.  We visited some amazing places: Noosa has to be an all time favorite place, Fraser Island was so tranquil, a flight over the Great Barrier Reef was inspiring and a whale watching trip out of Hervey Bay was awesome.   I was extremely busy at the International Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) conference….8 days of meeting up with friends old and new….8 days of learning, networking and being accepted for who I am. I co-led with Mel Smith a full day dreams workshop, co-led a half day leadership workshop, chaired the UK chapter meeting and with Mum we did a workshop to get people thinking about what happens when their loved ones can no longer support them on a day to day basis. I was stretched and grew, surprised and rewarded, left renewed and positive, thank you ISAAC and my lovely friends.

August saw Mum and Dad drive me to Barcelona for the CP World Championships, there I was joined by 2 PAs as Mum and Dad left before the end of the week. A good week, hot and at times wet, different but great experience. Some PBs but no medals, however, I know what I need to do next. The girls then drove me home before I rushed off to the Boccia World Championships in Liverpool; what a lot to learn. Some amazing play showing me the world of opportunity that exists by challenging myself to try new ways of playing.

September saw Christie become my ramp assistant,  watch this space…..  I changed my chair, my release method, got a couple of new balls and other minor things. My boccia journey seemed to take off with an invitation to go to a UK Boccia Federation (UKBF) talent event. Thanks to my coach and everyone who supports me I had a great few days.

October was back to uni, my new ramp arrived and I settled down to combining training and studying.

November saw me lose my balls (careless!!) and an ensuing panic, but thanks to Boccia England for helping me out I was able to go ahead and play in scheduled competitions and attend some great coaching sessions. I hurt my knee and after treatment it’s nearly there. My boccia continues to go well with more wins (with Alfie and Alex as Jorvik Boccia) in the first SuperLeague event. December was no quieter, with Raf and Lee we came 3rdin the National Team and Pairs representing the Knights Academy. A complete set of new balls arrived (never ‘lose’ your balls is my advice) and I’ve spent time getting to know how they play.  I’ve been busy working on assessed coursework and submit early in January.  Meanwhile I’ve hosted Santa in his grotto, several family parties and had Christmas in my own home, the joy!  After an MRI on my knee and with physio planned I’m at last on the road to recovery and will start RaceRunning once more later this month January, and I’m back to walking around my house again with my frame.

Not a bad year.  Great boccia, amazing RaceRunning achievement, very pleasing university results, my own home. My health is again improved, in no small part due to RaceRunnning and the input from TASS (Talented Athlete Sports Scholarship) who provide Strength and Conditioning (thanks, Dane), nutrition, lifestyle support and sports psychology.

I’m grateful for the support of everyone who helps (including Mum, Dad , P&J, Matt and my team), and the friends I’ve made during 2018. Wishing you as you read this love, motivation, strength and courage for 2019.