Beth’s campaign for accessibility at the Paralympics

There’s a campaign doing the rounds online at the moment that is not backed by a charity organisation but rather by a single individual and her family.  What makes this campaign one particularly worth sharing is both the courage this person displays at pushing forward her battle despite red tape and bureaucratic opposition, and the cause itself that is close at heart to many wheelchair users.

In a few words, Beth – the person who started this effort – is looking forward to attending the Paralympics with her husband and two children, only to discover that just one person can accompany her to her seat at the Velodrome, and that therefore part of her family would have to sit elsewhere.

This is the letter Beth wrote to ask for support:

The London 2012 Olympic Games were brilliant. My family – particularly my two children – loved it. I decided I wanted to take them to the Paralympic Games to sample the once in a lifetime showcase of disabled sport in London.  
I’m a wheelchair user, with a four-year-old autistic son and a nineteen-month-old daughter. Naturally we wanted to sit together and, particularly as it’s the Paralympics, I assumed there would be adequate provision to allow for this.   
So I was stunned to hear that there was no way that this could happen as there is a policy that wheelchair users can only be accompanied by one other person, meaning that either my children or my husband have to sit far away from me.  
I’ve started a petition on Change.org calling on London 2012 to review this policy. Please click here to join me.  
I cannot believe that this event, designed to inspire a new generation of athletes, has a discriminatory ticketing policy. It’s essential that my husband sits with me as he helps me with things I need to do and clearly my kids can’t sit separately.   
Aside from these practical considerations, I want to share this special occasion with my family, but I’m being prevented from doing so just because I am in a wheelchair.  
Please join my campaign to get the organisers of the Paralympics to change this ticketing policy for these and future Games – so every family can share the Paralympics together.  
Thank you,  
Beth

The Olympic Games in London were fantastic and a real opportunity for the celebration of diversity of all who took part or witnessed the events.  The Games brought people together in ways that few things in a big city like London can.  They instilled in people a sense of excitement and they encouraged people to smile and talk to strangers where they otherwise wouldn’t have.  Essentially they helped bring down barriers that usually separate people who live in close proximity to one another but who rarely interact directly.

The way Beth’s situation is being treated risks undermining all of the great spirit of humanity the Games brought to London.  The authorities need to listen to individual people’s concerns and respond to them appropriately.  It is obvious to most people that families should sit together and enjoy the spectacle as one.  I trust that whoever is in charge will understand this, sort out this ironical situation and that Beth and her family can enjoy the Games together.

In the meantime, please sign Beth’s petition to help her cause receive the attention it deserves.

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One comment

  1. Really well put Bernard! Your point about removing barriers is the essence of what the games is about. Here we have the authorities actively working to destroy that! Unbelievable, particularly for the Paralympics! This is active discrimination and has to be abolished! Keep up the great work! And Beth, we are 110% behind you!

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