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Make Your Voice Count – #iGaze

It’s taken me a long time to get around to writing this post. I’ve made several attempts and none of them have felt right. And I desperately want to get this right.


This week, I have the chance to actually do something with this blog of mine. To help change someone’s life by setting off a trail of dominos that will hopefully lead to something good.


And you have no idea how much I want that to happen…

When I was a little girl, I had to have speech therapy. I was born with a cleft palate and Marshall Stickler syndrome, which left my speech a little ‘iffy’ I suppose you could say. My parents remember it fondly – my tiny nasal voice and my inability to say things properly was adorable on a little blonde-haired girl. But for me, I found speech therapy hard. I didn’t want to sit inside and play with flash cards and discuss things with this lady I didn’t really know. I wanted to run and jump and shout and sing and do all of those things that my friends were doing.

But speech therapy gave me my voice. The very one I have today. The one that makes me pronounce words very ‘properly’. The one that means I can sing. The one that is clear enough to give me the confidence to never stop using it; never stop talking.

Conversation is everything to me. I am always trying to reach out and connect with people. My mind runs away with itself and my mouth does everything possible to keep up and when it can’t…my fingers take over and I write. I type. I scribble. I tweet. I text. I email. I communicate in words, in pictures. I share songs. I share stories, anecdotes, jokes, riddles, silliness.

I love company. I love getting to know someone. Picking their brains. It’s good to talk. It really is.

I suppose you might be wondering where I’m going with this. And I want to keep it short and apply all of the tricks of the trade to keep you engaged and make this powerful and make you think, but the truth is, true to word, I have too much to say. Please stick with me.

While many of you know me as a mum who blogs. William’s mum. That one who takes too many selfies. Or writes a lot. I am actually part of Reason Digital – a social enterprise that uses the web to change the world. And I mean that. Reason Digital is like the Superman of digital agencies.

My job there is, perhaps not surprisingly, content and social media. And, for the past few weeks, I’ve been working hard on a campaign that is very close to my heart.

The campaign?

#iGaze.

Have you ever felt that feeling of not being
heard? Whether in a room of people, where no one takes the time to listen? Or
whether your voice is ignored? Or whether you don’t have the confidence to say
what you feel?
But what if your voice was only heard thanks
to an incredibly expensive and hard-to-access machine? 
Some patients, at the Royal
Hospital of Neuro-disability
, are unable
to communicate, unless they have access to a very expensive piece of equipment,
called Eye Gaze. Eye Gaze machines rely on eye movement alone, so patients with
locked-in syndrome and other disabilities, can find their voices again, with just the flicker of an eye.
This week is Brain Awareness Week. And, in a bid to raise awareness and vital funds, I was lucky enough to work with the RHN on their #iGaze campaign. I, along with a team of brilliant, good-hearted people, visited the RHN and got to experience these machines first hand. Our ‘normal’ way of communication was taken away from us, as we saw it through someone else’s eyes. Quite literally. 
And the RHN filmed it. So you can see just how
important having a voice really is, and be inspired to give the patients at the RHN their voice again. 
You can see my footage below, but you must visit the campaign page, not only to give whatever you can, but to see the full campaign video and to see the other brilliant people involved. You may see some faces that you recognise…
I hope that I have maybe inspired you to do something. Whether that’s donate whatever you can to RHN’s cause – it’ll be doubled this week, by Gourmet Pizza, if you do. Or maybe you can share this post. Or help us to get #iGaze trending by telling us what your voice means to you. 
Just think about the last thing you said. What was it? Did it count? 
You have a chance to use your voice today. To give a voice to someone else.
Please make it count. 

And if you aren’t sick of me begging and pleading, you can see a bit of the behind-the-scenes work here too…

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No Comments

  • Reply
    karenmarytaylor
    10th March 2014 at 9:33 am

    Liked, shared and donated 😀 Amazing work to all those involved, here's hoping you get to raise lots of money for such a worthy cause..

  • Reply
    KARA
    10th March 2014 at 10:15 am

    Wow, now I have met you I would never have guessed you had those problems, well done on getting through them.
    I am so proud of you for the work you have done for #iGaze and I am so honored you asked me to be a part of it, thank you x

  • Reply
    LipstickErgoSum
    10th March 2014 at 2:45 pm

    £5 donated. What a great initiative! You must feel very proud of yourself, I mean this literally, you must! x

  • Reply
    Nadine Thomas
    10th March 2014 at 7:46 pm

    I work in a special school and we have Eye Gaze which is used by our profoundly disabled children. It certainly is a wonderful piece of kit!

  • Reply
    Maxine Chamberlain
    10th March 2014 at 7:51 pm

    I actually couldn't read this post quick enough. It was so interesting not to mention inspiring. Thank you for sharing and helping to raise awareness.

  • Reply
    Katie @mummydaddyme
    10th March 2014 at 10:36 pm

    You should be incredibly proud of yourself Charlotte. You will make a difference. x

  • Reply
    Carie
    11th March 2014 at 11:56 am

    That's an amazing piece of technology and a simply brilliant campaign! Just mindblowing!

  • Reply
    Stephanie Oakes
    11th March 2014 at 12:20 pm

    You should be so proud of yourself, I hope the campaign is a huge success xx

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