Charlotte was an amazing young lady, facing every challenge she came across head on. Sadly, she left this world for a better place on Tuesday the 27th of March. Loosing Charlotte at only 20 years old is a devastating shock and sadly our finances won't allow us to celebrate her short life in the way that she deserves. We need funds to help us pay for her Requiem service, burial plot, internment and her wake. Any funds left after this will be used to set up a charity in Charlotte's name to aid young adults with a disability as they transition from the care of child services into adult services.
She recently gave a talk for International women's day and this is the best way to tell her story.
International Women's Day
My name is Charlotte and I am 20 years old. I would like to start by saying that it is an absolute honour to be asked to speak to you all today for International Women's Day. I hope that my story inspires you to keep reaching for your dreams and to live life to the fullest.
My condition is Ullrich Congenital Muscular Dystrophy, which affects one in a million babies born every year. Although I was born with my condition, I didn’t get diagnosed until I was 9 years old. I moved to mainstream school when I was 6 and continued in mainstream school throughout my education. I missed quite a lot of school, due to hospital appointments and admissions. However, I worked hard to keep up with my peers by catching up on all work that I missed because I didn’t want to fall behind. I achieved A's and B's in my GCSE's and then went on to study my A-levels.
Throughout my school life, I never questioned my abilities. I didn’t see my disability as any kind of barrier to what I wanted to achieve and I was very ambitious. My disability was just who I was and I knew that whatever I wanted to do, I could, I just might have to do it a bit differently to everyone else. In fact, very often I would forget that society had this label of being disabled attached to me. I was just Charlotte and I had big dreams.
Whenever I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said that I wanted to go to university to train to be a Primary School Teacher....oh and I wanted to be an artist....and if that wasn’t ambitious enough, in my spare time I would have my own business. Those were my dreams for a long time and I didn’t have any doubts that I could achieve these goals.
This was mostly down to the incredible people in my life, who always inspired me to reach every opportunity available to me and to live life to the fullest.
In 2015, I was really struggling with my health. I had lost a lot of weight. I was struggling to breathe, let alone to eat. I had to make a very difficult decision to have a tracheostomy, which would enable me to breathe much better. This happened right in the middle of my A-level exam period, which meant that I couldn’t complete them. I had had 3 offers from universities to study to become a Primary School Teacher, which I had to withdraw from.
I'm not going to stand up and here and tell you that it was easy, because it wasn’t. It was one of the darkest and most difficult times of my life. My plan in life was torn apart and I lost who I was inside. But I am grateful for it.
Difficult Roads often lead to Beautiful Destinations.
My road has made me stronger and more resilient as a person. I have met some of the most incredible people and it has lead me to the path I am on now, which includes talking to you all today.
True, I have not gotten to university yet. Although I returned to Sixth form to complete my A levels, I did not get the grades that I wanted. I have also decided to pursue a different career, which will be more suited to my health needs. Basically, my plan in life has gone out of the window, but (and it took me a long time accept this) that’s ok. I truly believe I am where I am meant to be in my life.
The reason I have told you all this story is because life is like a battle. It might not go how its planned and that’s ok. The important thing is to reach every opportunity available to you. To live your life to the fullest. To make a small positive difference to the world. To inspire and be inspired. Be proud to be you!
From all the messages we have received, we know she had touched the lives and hearts of so many people. Once met never forgotten. Her determination, enthusiasm, talent, endless smiles and boundless positivity will continue to shine through.
Her family would like to thank you all for your kind words, thoughts and prayers through this difficult time. If you can and would like to contribute towards her final farewell we would be immensely grateful.
- Elaine Holmes
- Lisa Hall
- Michael Clews
- Katrina Madden
- Feleena and Reuben Hobson
Chapel Chorlton, ENG