“I like to get up on stage, but I never thought I’d be able to do it. Crann gave me that confidence.“
Growing up, Callum’s neuro-physical disability carried a stigma with other children.
“They didn’t understand it. I would catch them staring at me in my chair and they’d be going white. Growing up, I never knew if my school friends were really my friends, or just following my chair because they were curious. Kids that age shouldn’t feel the way I felt.”
At 19 years old, he should be finding independence and discovering his self-identity. Yet he finds himself relying on family and friends for even the simplest things.
“It gets so boring at home. I don’t get to go to college because there’s nothing around. I live 15 minutes from Cork city centre, but I can’t just go there on my own, and that’s frustrating. It’s so close but so far because I need company when I need something. Most of the time, I’m okay with it. But it affects my family and friends, though of course they’d never say it to me.”
“The message that you’re never alone is the best thing you can say to young people with disabilities. It’s what I needed to hear when I was younger“
But, with the help of Crann, Callum is starting to find himself.
“Crann is a lovely place. It’s always welcoming and somewhere you can go for a chat. I’ve been in plays, a drama group, things like that. They help you share your experiences.
“I’ve been co-hosting a course for the younger kids about confidence. I jumped at the chance. The message that you’re never alone is the best thing you can say to young people with disabilities.”
And he has discovered a new talent for stand-up comedy, too.
“I always knew I loved comedy, but I never thought I’d be able to do it. But, after one of our plays, I got up on stage in front of 200 people and just spoke on my own. I wanted to find the funny side of my disability. It was terrifying. But I loved it.”
“Crann is brilliant. It’s lovely“