Being surrounded by people with a limb difference isn’t something that happens every day. Before I met Kitty, it’s not something I’d ever encountered before, so standing in a hotel lobby in Leicester where probably a third of the people were like her was unusual to say the least.
This weekend we attended our first family weekend with the charity Reach, who support the families of kids with upper limb differences. I was a little apprehensive on the drive down, as it’s the first time we’ve done anything linked to her arm, but the second we walked through the door, that nervousness melted away.
Everyone was so welcoming, so friendly and so open. Within minutes, we’d been approached by the parents of a 21-year-old with an arm like Kitty’s to tell us how he’d driven them there in his adapted car. So many people came over just to say hello and coo over Kitty – and her arm. ‘It’s so cute – reminds me of my little boy,’ said one mum. And of course, Miss Kitty loved being the centre of attention.
We met families I’d had messages of support from on the Reach Facebook page when we first found out, and even a family who live less than a mile away from us. We learned about bionic arms, 3D printed limbs and heard some really inspiring stories from people who haven’t let their difference stop them from doing anything.
But I think the thing that affected me the most was seeing the kids – from toddlers to teenagers – just getting on with being kids. Running round messing about with their mates, getting dolled up for the gala dinner. All of them different but just the same, and all so confident.
By the time we checked out, I found I’d stopped looking to see if our fellow guests were Reach kids or not. And I’d forgotten that Kitty has something different about her too.
I feel so grateful to have found Reach and feel so positive about Kitty’s future after this weekend. These kids do things I would never dare attempt and with them (and us) cheering her on, there’ll be nothing our incredible Miss Kitty can’t do*.
*Except sleep. After an exciting day making new friends that was one thing she wasn’t capable of. Someone pass the coffee…
Visit Reach at http://www.reach.org.uk – they’re a small charity that do amazing work, so need support. If you can donate or help out with fund-raising, you’ll make some incredible kids very happy.