When Barry met Aaron
It’s been a busy week here at SpecialEffect. That’s not unusual and always very welcome. As long as we’re busy, we’re happy because it means we’re very much in demand. Whilst our Service Delivery Team have been visiting homes and hospitals in the very north and very south of the UK (and several places in between), my colleague Nick and I have been visiting One Special Day partners in Leamington Spa, Burton-on-Trent and Twycross.
But on Wednesday I was on the road in the South-East for a very different reason. For the very best of reasons. I was in the privileged position of going out with our Service Delivery Team to visit an inspirational young man with a rare form of muscular dystrophy; a genetic, progressive condition that causes muscles to weaken and deteriorate. I’m not the sort of person who normally includes exclamation marks in my writing and I certainly never capitalise words. I’m going to make an exception when I talk about Aaron because the fella was truly an INSPIRATION!!! He was also a fantastic reminder – not that any of us here needs it – of why we consider our work so important for disabled people’s quality of life and why we have absolute respect for our colleagues who are on the road day after day, helping disabled gamers.
Aaron has just finished his GCSEs. He’s bright. Bright, articulate, charming and possibly the most polite teenager I’ve ever met (and I include my own children amongst those). He is also the most unwaveringly cheerful young man. As my colleague worked through the morning, I chatted to Aaron and his mum about games he loves (currently Cuphead and Star Wars Battlefront 2), about his exams and books he’s been studying at school. And, mission accomplished for the day, as we stepped back out into the early afternoon, suburban warmth I felt invigorated, uplifted and truly grateful that I am able to play a small part in helping to improve the lives of disabled gamers and immensely proud of the people that understand what we do, why and support our work.
On Saturday, I’ll be heading to Northamptonshire to meet up with some of our most staunch supporters in Frontier Developments and their Elite:Dangerous community. Having met Aaron and seen the difference SpecialEffect has made to his quality of life, my only concern now is whether I will actually be able to find the words to thank them enough for that support.
Have a wonderful weekend and, whether you support SpecialEffect or not, feel good that on any given day, there is a group of people based here in rural Oxfordshire who are making the world a happier and more stimulating place to live. Enjoy the sunshine folks.