Tomorrow's People - Kirstie // / by sophie green

"When I was four I had complicated surgery to remove a life threatening brain tumour due to my epilepsy. The doctors said this would come at a risk and following the operation I was left with severe learning disabilities. The doctor's told my family that I would be dependent on carers my whole life and that I wouldn’t be able to drive, go to school, or work. I proved them wrong, I can do all those things, I’ve even moved out of my family home and into supported accommodation. The next big thing I wanted for total independence was to get into full time employment.

I went to so many different organisations and none of them really understood me and my needs. They all discriminated against me and didn’t speak to me with respect. It shattered my confidence. The problem with society now is people just judge. I was treated like a number. I’m writing to the government to make things better for myself and for other people in similar situations to me. I want them to acknowledge that they put me at great health risk - because of the way I was treated I became depressed and anxious. I felt I couldn’t trust anyone.

Tomorrow’s People helped me and supported me without judging. They were so patient and kind to me and didn’t put me under any pressure. My life turned around when I met them. I had so much encouragement and support from them. It’s nice to be around people who accept me for who I am. I was suicidal before; I’d faced rejection so many times that I’d begun to accept it as the only possibility. The staff at Tomorrow’s People realised it might take me a bit longer to do things but they didn't write me off. It was a relief to find someone who believed in me.

Now I wake up in the morning and feel healthy and happy. I’m doing a dream job working with animals at Green World Garden Centre. Animals make me so happy and make me feel cared for and loved. I have a purpose in life. I think if you stand up and fight for what is right, you can achieve anything."

Portrait // Kirstie, Maidstone. 28.

Portrait // Kirstie, Maidstone. 28.