I’m Ann-Mason and I’m an ambassador for the International Day of People with Disability. I’m proud about that.
Where do I start? I had polio at the age of 12 and my left arm, and shoulder, and hand, are all paralysed and have been since 1950.
And, so I’ve learned to live with disability nearly all my life.
There are some things that everybody can do to help support the disability community.
You can treat us like people, like just everyday, ordinary people. Because that’s what we are.
You can ask before you try to help. People who use wheelchairs do not always have a carer and people [who] use wheelchairs are perfectly able, usually, to make up their own minds.
It’s probably a good idea to remember that people with disabilities are people.
My inspiration for getting into the disability movement was the fact that it was essentially something that needed doing and I was one of the many, many people who helped to get some of these things done.
I’ve always believed that sitting around and pouting and complaining is simply not helpful and it doesn’t work, usually.
But trying to explain to people why something is needed works better and it means that if you make things easier for people with disability, you make it easier for everybody actually.
Ann-Mason Furmage (she/her) is a proud disability advocate who has lived with disability for over 50 years, following a Polio diagnosis at the age of 12.
She has worked as an accountant and financial controller in Australia and the USA for over 20 years. She is also the former President of the Physical Disability Council of NSW and Deputy Chair.