'Chats with Elena Canty', a four part podcast series brought to you by Irish Wheelchair Association - Ability Programme and sponsored by EQUAL Ireland. Every episode in this series is an opportunity to get to know Elena Canty. Elena’s personal experiences help us be who we can be.
In this episode, Elena speaks of IWA's exceptional supportive service, childhood memories, best friends who energise her & encourages us all to fight for what we need...because we all have the right to access what we need.
Background music by Justin Grounds
Edited by Daniel Clancy
Produced & Published by Good Day Cork
Have you any questions for Elena - send them on Twitter @GoodDay_Cork or Instagram @gooddaycork - she will be answering them in the finale episode.
For many more inspiring stories - subscribe to www.gooddaycork.com
Hi, you're listening to Chats with Elena Canty a four-part podcast series brought to you by the Irish Wheelchair Association - Ability Programmme and co-sponsored by EQUAL Ireland. Every episode in this series is an opportunity to get to know Elena Canty. Elenas personal experiences help us be who we can be. Elena Canty here. I'm 31 years old and I live in Cork City. I'm a Communications Executive for a leading event management company in Cork and at the moment we are enjoying doing virtual events. In my spare time I love to go shopping and socialise with friends and family. I love nature. I am a huge Disney fanatic and Christmas is my favourite holiday. I am involved with the IWA mindfulness group and this group focuses on personal and professional development as well as best practices for incorporation of mindfulness into our day to day lives. Hi Elena, Hi, how are you? I'm very well..Excellenet.. very well. It's very rare that I get to meet people who are so vocal about their life and with the intention to help others so that other people can learn from the lessons that you've learned, you know. Absolutely when I was born I had complications and from infancy - so I was born with osteogenesis imperfecta type three or OI for short and in layman's terms that means brittle bone disease. So it does exactly what it says on the tin and it causes my bones to break very easily so you can imagine as a baby being born with that severe condition would have, you know, ignited this sense of fight in me for the rest of my life. How has the Irish Wheelchair Association supported you? What role do they play in your everyday life? I suppose they play two main roles for me. I joined the Irish Wheelchair Association as a client when I was in my early teens for Assisted Living service. And so I would have PA's that help me at home wish day to day life and personal care and social activities and I also have help from the IWA in regards to employment which I have accessed and since about over a year now with Joanne Dawson. And and yeah, just helping me with, you know, kind of life's lessons and regarding work and personal development and you know, just invaluable life lessons like, assertiveness, time management things that will help you. Transferable skills that will help you in the workplace and and she provides mindfulness as well. So she's awesome. I just want to say thank you to Joanne for all of your help and I really appreciate it because your knowledge is just beyond anything that I could have ever expected. From the service and and you are just you go above and beyond and you're always there for help and support. So I really appreciate it. Aww.. Joanne will be gushing as she hears this.. And Elena tell me what's your earliest childhood memory? When I was a teenager, I went to Disneyland Paris and I was 13 and I was quite ill the year before and and as part of the CUH Children's Unit they brought - they surprised children with a trip to - a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Disneyland Paris and after they recovered from the illness and so yeah, I think that's my kind of earliest childhood memory, but it would be my favourite one as well. What happened on the trip? What all did you do? What did you see? I would have went on many rides and a lot of theme park rides when I went there but not all of them would have been maybe suitable for me, but I went on It's a small world. I went on the cups and saucers and that was an awesome one as well. But I think my favourite one was the It's a small world ride and I went on so many times about 12 times I'd say a dozen times. So it's high on your recommendation list. Oh absolutely and not just for kids for adults too. You could be nine years old or 90 years old and it's a place for everyone. It ignites the magic inside of you and that you've had all along and it just you know, it encourages happiness despite anything that you might be going through. It's just all about happiness when you go to Disneyland. It's beautiful. Now speaking of happiness and beauty who are your favourite people growing up? Thankfully, my favourite people growing up are still my favorite people now. So I would have a mixture of family and friends who I treasure and hold dear to my heart, but and I have three well, I've particularly two childhood friends Grace and Megan who I'm still very close with and and I also became very close friends with my friend, Jen - Jennifer and it's great because she also lives in Cork as well. I admire her love for life. She's an awesome person to be with she's got an energy that you just want to be around and she does love to hold on to life and seize the day and make the best of everything. So that's incredible, coming from you because to many of us you're the energy ball. And your zest for life is you know, it is absolutely contagious. Thank you . you know I think like attracts like as well so, she loves - she has a great zest for life and I love life as well. So I suppose like attracts like. Who has taught you to exercise your voice in the world? I think it will be my mom and my dad because ever since I was little, they've had to fight for everything that I had the right to and so I kind of always had that in me growing up, you know, just making sure that I wasn't denied any of my rights. I think I got my own voice from my mom and dad. Never stop believing and always fight for what you believe in. Is there a particular time in their attempt to fighting for rights and making sure rights werent denied Is there a particular time in your life where you saw either of them and felt truly inspired? From the very early days and when I started education and in primary school, I would have needed extra help in terms of assistance with getting around physically so my mom and dad lobbied for an assistant for me to have in my classroom to help me with note taking, for personal care in the bathroom, you know certain things like lifting my school bag or helping me with my heavy books, things that I would not be able to physically manage on my own. So I was the very first person in Ireland to receive what is known as an SNA in mainstream education and that is because of my mom and dad. Whoo. Yeah, shout out shout out. That's yeah, it's amazing. So because of them and because of the campaign for me to get an SNA in mainstream education - That is the reason why there are so many mainstream SNAs across Ireland now, which is great. Absolutely. I was listening to Lord Mayor Chu - Dublin Lord Mayor Chu talking on a panel for Frederick Douglass Week. She reminded all of us listening that remember why you're doing something when you get exhausted. A hundred percent. Yeah, Yeah. It happens to me anyway that I forget. why am I doing this again? Yeah same here. It's only human to feel defeated and but and it is exhausting. Let's not sugarcoat it. Fighting for something can be exhausting but the feeling of achievement at the end when you've finished the fighting and you've got to a place where you achieved that goal is so much better than anything. So and it's so true, just remember why you want this goal to be achieved and then you'll never stop giving up. It's applicable to everything that we do every assignment we're doing in college, mowing the lawn. Anyway, the Cork Environment Forum does say Please don't mow the lawn the bees needs the shrub. So there you go. This is why we don't mow the lawn. You know, why why am I making effort with this dinner? or.. You owe it to yourself? To never stop and because it is your fundamental. I wish to access something that you so dearly need. whether it be education, relationships that you have with family and friends. These are all fundamental rights that humans need so I suppose going back to - and you know that root of all things that in humans that is a fundamental right! So just keep reminding yourself that it is your fundamental right and you will keep ploughing on. Thank you so much for that Elena and we're going to come back next week with few more Chats with Elena Canty. Awesome. Yeah.