I was diagnosed with the Muscular dystrophy disease at eight years and I stopped walking three years later and by the age of 16 she stopped moving both her hands. But that has not stopped me from living and I can write, use a computer and even paint – using my mouth. Despite my limitations I strongly encourage self-sufficiency and try to be a good example of independent living. I was fortunate but I also fought for my independence and in 2006 I married the love of her life Kevin a fellow muscular dystrophy sufferer wheelchair bound, with the assistance of 24-hour care in 2006. We spent 10 beautiful years together until unfortunately he passed away in 2016. We got to know each other through the disease about 19 years ago and have supported each other since.
I was always recognised in the past for my strong personality and in 2010 I was chosen as one of the 12 Women Inspiring Europe, by the European Institute for Gender Equality in Vilnius, Lithuania, which aims to give more visibility to some of Europe’s outstanding women and their achievements to serve as inspiration.</br></br>Although bound to a wheelchair, this has never held me back. I was the chair of the Muscular Dystrophy Group and vice president of the National Commission – Persons with Disability. My aim is to ensure people with disability can be involved in every aspect of life, from education to work.</br></br>A staunch advocate of independence, I am most irked by overprotection and the imposition of assistance. ‘Parents are right to worry about children who have this condition. I myself used to fall a lot while I could walk until I was 11. But when they grow up, they need to let them be and allow them to take their own decisions.
My motivation comes from my disability. I want disabled adults to live as independently as possible. I want to be able to inspire people, that even for someone with a severe disability life is worth living and one can lead a happy life with their loved ones, friends and work colleagues. I love music and one of my favourite bands is the local band TRIBALI. I always get invited and given a VIP place whenever they play in Malta. Trying to live life to the full and inspiring other people to do the same has always been my motivation.
I was lucky in a sense that I have found support throughout my journey but I still had to fight for my rights and independence as it is not easy for parents of disabled children to let go and let them live the life they want to. Although I need a carer 24 hours, I still manage to live independently in my own house.
Some people are afraid to interact with people with disability not because they do not care but because they are afraid of doing something wrong or offending the disabled person. Lack of awareness on the different disabilities tends to lead to misunderstandings and a certain distance towards the disabled person. Employers sometimes still discriminate towards people with disability and again most of the time it is due to lack of awareness.