"I NEED YOUR HELP...
Most people reading this will know that I am a solicitor specialising in representing parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities and am quite good at what I do (I am rated as joint no.1 in the UK in Education Law by the leading legal directories).
However, I am also a 45 year old man, married with three children (aged 14, 12 and 11) and for the past seven years have been a disabled person with a rare, progressive and degenerative neurological condition known as Cerebellar Ataxia which affects my speech, eyesight and balance and co-ordination and which now requires me to use a wheelchair to get around.
I always like to say to anyone who meets me for the first time that my disability does not affect my life expectancy, my cognition or my sense of humour! In fact, I think that it has actually given me a unique perspective which I consider it fortunate to be able to have - to see everything in the way that it really is and to appreciate all of the things that many other people take for granted. In fact, I only set up my own firm just over six years ago after being diagnosed although I have been practicing in Education, Disability and Public law for over 15 years now. Ironic isn't it what has happened to me considering what I do?
So what has this got to do with you and why do I need your help ?
At the end of the year, in November, Norwood, a charity supporting children with disabilities and helping families in need is again organising one of its famous bike rides in Israel to raise money. It is 380 km over 5 days and is quite challenging. I have always wanted to do something like this but, in recent years, have had to come to terms with the fact that it will now not be possible because of my condition. But the doctors in charge of my medical care advised me early on that whatever I wanted to do in life I should try to do earlier rather than later so I am trying to cram the rest of my life into a few years.
I am worse now than I was this time last year but am better now than I will be in another year's time. With the rate of my deterioration I have realised that if I do not do a bike ride now I may never have the opportunity to do something like this again. So, with the help of friends, I am planning to do the ride in a specially modified recumbent trike. I am going to do as much by myself as I can but, when I am unable to do any more, I am going to be physically connected to the rear wheel of another bike in front of me and we will ride in tandem.
It is unlikely that I will ever be able to do this again and therefore I want to maximise what I can raise for Norwood. If you have a minute, I hope that you will be able to help me/Norwood by sponsoring me and making a donation. You can sponsor me by going to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DouglasSilas. Please help me make a difference both to my life and to other people's lives. "
For some reason Douglas always feels the need to remind me that he is a married man!:) Seriously though, he is my hero. Not only for what he managed to pull off for my son (a miracle - or at least the best chance of an independant life) but also for the tireless work he and his team carry out to ensure that children with special needs have the very best legal advice, so that their parents have the very best chance of obtaining funding for essential support and an appropriate education. Please don't take my word for this. Go visit Douglas's website - a wealth of free information.
Again Douglas is being totally unselfish. Anyone who cycles will know he has a mountain to climb - 380 km in five days - hardly a spin around Hyde Park. Again it is all about supporting children with special needs. Douglas wants to raise £50,000. I know money's tight all round, but if you support any good cause over the next couple of months, please consider helping this very special man achieve his goal.
Once again, Douglas's sponsership page is here: Douglas Silas Sponsership page.