With each and every new story comes a newfound respect for the triumphs and struggles that can be experienced by the human condition.
We all have a gift, yes, this is true, and we all have struggles.
That is the commonality that binds us and is part of the human experience.
Today I share with you a beautiful story of a young man who has recently discovered the gift in his story. Sitting and speaking with Sharan was a humbling experience. He is very articulate and is an amazing advocate for Muscular Dystrophy, as well as being one of the artists that studies atMawaheb from Beautiful People.
Please take a moment to read through and comment on this most extraordinary interview. The courage it takes to share your story in a public forum should be recognised.
Sharan will be giving a talk tomorrow at the AccessAbilities Expo 2016 at 1pm in the Knowledge Centre. Please be sure to attend if you can!
1) Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Sharan and I am from India. I am 24 years old. I have Muscular Dystrophy. After I came to Mawaheb I learned that I could be an artist. I have been at Mawaheb for 5 years. I paint with a remote control car. I like watching tennis, football, cricket and movies of course. My favourite superhero is Batman.
2) What is your biggest challenge?
I was born in Dubai and went to mainstream school. When I reached Grade 12 I was not able to pass my math's test. I was not able to continue the second term of Grade 12 and had to sit at home for 4 months.
I felt lost because all my other classmates were continuing their term but I was unable to join them due to my weakening condition of my back. This made it hard to sit all day. I wanted to be an architect and a pilot but I was not able to do that because of my condition.
3) Tell me about Muscular Dystrophy?
It's a muscle weakening disease which gets worse over time. The protein dystrophin is deficient. It starts with lower body, and travels upward.
There are 40 types of MD. I have Beckers MD.
At the age of 7 I started to notice changes. It's a long journey.
4)What is something that people assume about you being in a wheelchair?
A lot of people assume that if you are in a wheelchair you all have the same condition.
Many people think I have Muscular Sclerosis.
5) Do you feel seen?
I feel that people don't see me and that I can be pushed into a corner. I feel they assume I am useless.
6) What would you say to people to help them understand and to educate them?
Just because I have special needs doesn't mean I am weird or out of this world. I struggle with my speech sometimes. There are times that I cannot speak. Those times when I cannot speak happen when I feel that people may not want to speak to me or ignore me.
7) What improvement would you like to see in Dubai to make it more accessible?
I can see Dubai is working hard to make the city more accessible for 2020. I would like to see wheelchair ramps installed in all buildings and particularly restaurants that have the space to accommodate. Having an alternative door would also help.
It would be nice to have accessible tables that can fit a wheelchair in a restaurant. I would like to be able to go to a concert in Dubai but have never been as they are not accessible. A lot of cinemas are not accessible.
8) What is your biggest gift?
I can speak to people and inspire and motivate them. I would tell people that anyone having MD is a long and hard journey, but if you don't accept who you are, you will not be able to tell people how valuable you are.
9) If you were doing an inspirational talk, what would it be called?
10) What makes you wake up every morning?
I feel I've been sent here for a reason to teach people and share with them the value of life. In our case, we see people with a different perspective because we all have challenges.
Our challenges could be bigger than most people but it doesn't mean we cannot have talents and contribute to society.
11) What goals do you have for the year 2016?
I would like to work on my anxiety on my condition. I have been thinking about what I might not be able to do as my condition gets worse. I do a lot of physiotherapy. I hope for improvement in my condition but it is hard work. I am grateful and thankful for not having a more severe form of MD.
Wow, incredible and inspiring. Words straight from the heart to touch the heart.
Thank you Sharan, you are most extraordinary!