While many people are being inspired by our amazing Paralympic athletes I relate more with another group of important people during these games... the Paralympic parents and this is my letter to them.
Dear Paralympic parents,
You are the ones I will be thinking of and gaining my motivation from during these Paralympics because you've been where I am, you get it.
You've had the tears and heart break of having a disabled child.
You've faced the same battles I face - probably worse if you take the age of some of your incredible athletes into account.
You've dealt with the endless appointments and hospital visits.
You've administered daily, sometimes hourly, medications and carried out never-ending therapies.
You've spent sleepless nights feeling helpless while your child was having seizures or uncontrolled movements which prevented them from getting a moment of calm and rest.
You've dealt with the endless paperwork that comes with having a disabled child.
You've had to justify every little bit of support your child needs and fight to get it when you've been told they don't meet the criteria.
You've waited for months for essential equipment and never moaned (much) when it's taken over your home because it's so big.
You've answered the same questions over and over again like a record on repeat because the doctor hasn't read the medical records.
You've dealt with the stares and awkward questions from strangers who feel they have the right to ask about your child's condition before even asking their name.
You've faced the frustrations of having a 'professional' think they know your child better than you do.
You've missed out on the milestones your friends children have hit without issue.
You've managed to remain hopeful when being told there is no hope.
You knew your child's strengths, understood their limits and saw the determination in their eyes.
You've been through what I'm going through and made it out the other side.
So while I will certainly be cheering on our incredible Paralympic team, what I will really be taking from these games is the knowledge that you, the Paralympic parents, have been where I am and have managed to go through all this whilst raising an elite athlete!
That knowledge reminds me that whilst my son may never be a Paralympian, everything I do can (and will) lead to an incredible future for him.
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