196 days ago
Throughout September 2019, Sodexo is hosting a Disability and Quality of Life survey in partnership with PurpleSpace - an organisation of disability inclusion experts. The results will help us to make recommendations about the needs of people with disabilities, that will, in turn, positively impact thousands of lives.
This week we share the experience of Simon, a business analyst at a British financial institution.
"For 39 years I was incredibly fit and healthy – I played cricket, surfed, and travelled the world. When I turned 40, everything changed. Just after my birthday, I stubbed my toe, but the pain didn’t go away. Scans revealed that there wasn’t any blood travelling to the bottom of my right leg, and the only choice I had was a below-the-knee leg amputation. Then it was discovered that I had a blood disorder. All of a sudden, my life changed.
"I had to learn to walk again with walking sticks and a prosthetic leg, and where once I was just able to grab my passport and disappear for a couple of weeks, now I have to go to the hospital every week for a blood test, and I’m limited by what I eat. It’s a case of thinking carefully about everything I do.
"When I lost my leg, I was off work for six months before gradually returning to work full time – and this happened just three months after I started the job. I was genuinely blown away by how my employer accommodated my needs. They’ve given me the flexibility to work from home when I need to, and an independent company was brought in to make a full occupational health review.
"I’ve worked in other financial companies where I would’ve probably lost my job by now. Since the diagnosis I’ve become actively involved in the company’s disability network. It’s been nice to share successes with thousands of staff across the country. If any new company buildings are being designed, we get to have a say with regards to accessibility matters.
"After losing my leg, I used a wheelchair (and still do at home), but otherwise I use my prosthetic leg. When I was in a wheelchair, initially I found myself getting annoyed. People think you can’t get something off the shelf at the supermarket or can’t open a door because you’re disabled. Just ask me if I want help and don’t just think I need to be helped.
"I’ll put my hand up and say I was ignorant of disability before I became disabled. If it’s not in your world, it can pass you by. But now I’m heavily involved – I have represented Bournemouth Hospital at various medical awards as a patient, I’m on the South of England prosthetic committee, and I also act as a patient advocate. Next month, I’m abseiling down a church to raise money for the hospital!"
As Sodexo is a disability confident leader, we are committed to inclusivity. Engaging employees and customers with a disabilities is central to this work.
Take part in our workplace survey today, which is open until Wednesday 2 October 2019. The results will help us to make recommendations about the needs of people with disabilities, and this in turn will positively impact thousands of lives.
If you have any questions relating to the survey, please email: Disability.UKandIE@sodexo.com.
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