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Florence
Nightingale
Foundation

Teresa Callaghan, is FNF’s Company Secretary and Executive Assistant. In this blog she talks about being part of the disabled community, and how proud it makes her, not just in Disability Pride month, but every month.

“When I started working for FNF in September 2021, I will admit that disability, being disabled and disability pride were far from my mind.  In fact, I was living a completely able-bodied life, spending hours walking the countryside with my dog and socialising happily with a gin (or two!).  Like many people (whether we admit it or not), disability just wasn’t on my radar.

In August 2022, my partner suggested I visit the GP as I had been experiencing falls at home and I wasn’t feeling myself.  Since then, I have undergone numerous tests, seen various specialists and have received multiple diagnoses.  I am also now a wheelchair user, which helps to manage the effects of my symptoms on my daily life.

Although there have been times that I have found becoming disabled hard, I have – for the most part – embraced it!  I have found a whole new community of amazing people, all embracing their own disabilities in the most wonderful ways.  Becoming disabled doesn’t mean that you can’t lead a full, exciting life with many adventures; sometimes you just have to look at things differently. 

I have also been extremely lucky to have had the most brilliant support from everyone at FNF.  I know that I am lucky because I read stories daily from those whose employers haven’t been supportive, who have felt that they must leave a job that they love.  Stories like this make me both sad and angry, as often only a few small adjustments can mean that a person can continue to excel in the workplace.  There is support available to employers to help them financially to make these changes.  My role at FNF has helped to keep me going, to keep me feeling positive and included.  I feel just as much a part of the team as I always have, which is how it should be. 

I am proud to be a part of the disabled community, not just this month but every day of every month. While almost all parts of my life have changed over the last 2 years, I don’t see this as negative. There have been and will be challenges.  However, I do not hide who I am, I do not hide my disability.  We need to embrace disability in the workplace, in our community.  We need to make our workplaces as inclusive as we can, remembering that disability isn’t just a person in a wheelchair.”

You can find out more about Teresa and all our team here.