Reach key speaker: Miles’ energising words make anything possible with a limb difference!
“What my parents did supremely well was to understand that to love someone you must let them go. They were not overprotective” Miles Harrison
When asked what he would need help with, in his interview for a place on Masterchef, Miles Harrison had to think hard. What might he find difficult? It was a tricky one. In the end he thought possibly lifting really heavy pans out of a very hot oven might require assistance… but probably not.
Affected by the Thalidomide drug, Miles has no arms. His hands are at shoulder level but he is a powerhouse of ability. Interviewed for Within Reach he reacted with faint amusement that help might be required for daily living.
What about dressing, toileting, shaving, cooking even….Nope. No help needed. A carer, a one-to-one? Nope, never had one.
Miles is married to Rosie and has three children. He has a career in leadership training and development and governance in the non profit sector and in his spare time climbs mountains – big ones.
“When I was asked to speak to Lloyds Banking Group for the International Day of People with Disabilities, I wanted to leave them with the idea that employing people with disabilities is a really good thing to do as they are very good at problem solving and adapting and thinking ahead.”
“My key thing is to do with leadership and governance, training and developing boards of directors of charities and I do a lot in the cultural and heritage field.”
“In daily life there are ways and means of doing things. When I climb mountains like Mera Peak, a 6,476m high mountain in the Himalayas, part of it is bravado, throwing yourself into things and finding ways of doing them. You find a way. I didn’t need to, but at any particular point I knew I could rely on anyone in the group.”
“I rebelled when my parents first sent me to a school for children with particular needs so then I went to a mainstream school and never had any problem with bullying. I have had no problems with social media either. I strived to be normal at school and probably suppressed a lot of stuff but I don’t have bad memories. My anxieties about getting a girlfriend were no more than other people had.”
“Looking back at my life I wouldn’t actually change a thing. My physical condition has formed me as the person that I am. I have a terrific life. I enjoy my work, I live in a fabulous part of the world in Stirling, I have a fabulous wife and family. I’m still climbing mountains, I have skied for 20 years, I played football at school and drums in a band. Of course I fell off bikes but actually no more than other kids. And I am who I am because of my condition, NOT despite it.”
For the record, Miles did not end up on Masterchef. His decision. He told them rashly that he was not seeking a new career running a restaurant!
“Employing people with disabilities is a really good thing to do as they are very good at problem solving and adapting and thinking ahead” Miles Harrison
Read the entire Within Reach here: https://issuu.com/reach40/docs/within_reach_spring_2020_final
Watch Miles Harrisons story here: