You might have noticed that I've been doing a bit of charity fundraising lately. Part of that involves running the London Marathon in a couple of weeks time (sponsor me here!) and I've also been doing things like selling prints of my work, and holding a local portrait marathon, all to raise money for the fantastic charity SCOPE.
I've also been carrying out a sport-related photo project. It seemed appropriate considering the London Marathon, and the latest of those shoots was with two skateboarders, graphic designer Ant Willis, and photographer Rachel Lipsitz.
The reason I'm trying to raise money for SCOPE is because it's a charity that's very close to my heart. As any creative freelancer will tell you, it's not always an easy business, and when I was only a few years into it, I had to supplement my income with another job. So I worked three days each week for three years as a support worker and carer for people with disabilities. Ultimately, I ended up working exclusively with one person, a young doctor who suffered from a degenerative neurological condition call spinocerebellar ataxia.
The condition took hold fast, and in less than a decade it had taken him from being perfectly able like anyone else, to being unable to walk, hold a pencil or even talk. While still mentally sharp, and with the keenest wit you could imagine, he needed my help to do even the most mundane things like talk on the telephone, go to the loo, type up his work, and even eat his lunch.
Over the years that I worked with him, Dr Shakeel Bhatti became my friend as well as someone I helped get through the day. So it was devastating to learn that just before Christmas he passed away.
Working with people like Shakeel, you realise just how difficult having even a small disability can make life. Public transport becomes impossible, communicating with other people a mammoth task and even getting access to the funds that you need and are entitled to as a disabled person is no mean feat - not least because this government has made it even more difficult that it has been in the past to find out what you're entitled to, and to claim it.
Which is why I'm trying to raise £2000 for SCOPE. They work hard to make things easier for the disabled. Whether it's finding suitable housing, helping people to find out what support is out there for them, or helping with respite breaks for carers, they provide an invaluable service.
But I need your help. I'm very close to reaching my fundraising target, and with one final push I can get there. So please SPONSOR ME in my London marathon effort, and spare whatever money you can to help me get there.
In the meantime, here are the other image from my sport photo project.