2019 Round-Up



In A Nutshell

2019. What a year. I have spent many years in bed dreaming of being able to achieve many things. This year, I am so lucky to be able to say I have had incredible opportunities and some of these dreams have been fulfilled. I want to write this blog as something to remember, because I am all too aware of how temporary my health may be and how easily I could relapse. I also know that opportunities like this don't come knocking at your door everyday. So please, celebrate with me. I definitely don't want this to come across in a bragging 'look what I did' way but to show hope to some of you out there who are also fighting life-long conditions.

Charity Work


Volunteering and running my own projects is something I absolutely adore doing. Project Parent is on it's 5th year now and celebrated handing out over 1,800 boxes and creating over 2,000 smiles. This project, which donates gift boxes to parents who are spending time in hospital looking after their poorly children, would not be possible without my incredible team of volunteers. 
For the first year, I set up another project called Sponsor A Stay. This project enabled 5 disabled guests and 5 carers to get a fully funded weeks respite with activities, food & accommodation at Calvert Trust. We had 5 corporate sponsors who made this possible and had over 100 people apply for a place!
I've continued my public speaking this year which I enjoyed, talking at The Inspire Network, International Women's Day and Tynedale Rotary Club. It's something I really enjoy doing and I love networking with other like-minded people!
The final one I absolutely loved was at the end of this year, setting up my first 'proper' chronic illness event at Tyneside Cinema. We hired a private cinema space to watch a Christmas movie, ate lots of snacks and all made friends which is so important in this isolated community. It was the most lovely event and one which I hope to continue in 2020!

Modelling


This is really where I can't believe how crazy this year has been. In April this year, I signed with Zebedee Management. I modelled locally for the National Trust campaign & a North East outdoors campaign. My first job with Zebedee was a TV commercial (yet to be aired). Then, I had a huge shock when I ended up at a casting for Sainsbury's and was chosen for their 'Work It' campaign as 1 of 15 inspirational women in work. From there, I had a photoshoot with SeaLife (which was incredible to see 'after dark') and then one with my family for ParkDene. Just as I thought the year had rounded up, I receive a call asking if I have a passport... I'm booked as a disabled dancer for an advert in Miami! Between these bookings, I've also had some amazing collaborations too. I've worked with the incredible Hannah Todd Photography who's photos got me many of my jobs, 'Beauty By Belinda' from 'The Glow Up' on an Invisible Illness Campaign, Joe Laws & Alexandra Edgar on a Cinderella inspired shoot to celebrate my Glass Slipper nomination and finally, a monumental teaser trailer for 'This Abled Dancer" with Ben Field, Ash & Luke. Phew!

Job


2019 also got me my first 'proper' job! In Summer, I was offered a part-time (5 hours a week) job by the ME Association as a Social Media Manager. This, spilt up into small sections throughout the week, allows me to work from home and is flexible so I can work around my condition. I also work for 45mins a week teaching ballet from my wheelchair when I'm well enough which I absolutely love & hope to continue in 2020. Finally, my blogging/writing started to get noticed and I've had the most amazing support from Allied Mobility who I write for on a monthly basis. I'm incredibly lucky, after over a decade of trying to find work, to finally have landed some flexible roles which work well with my health.

Friends

  


I spent this year really finding a small, but mighty, set of friends. At the start of the year I travelled to London (which at the time was a HUGE thing for me!) to say goodbye to my best friend, Alex, as he left for Australia. Despite being the other side of the world, he will always be my rock. Going through the year, I met new people. I went to Naidex and found a fabulous group of chronically-ill people I could trust. The same happened at 'Sponsor A Stay' and my Chronic Illness Christmas Party. I became friends with a group of bloggers/vloggers who are now some of the most supportive people and I absolutely love being able to do some 'normal' things like go to events with them. Before this, I felt incredibly isolated and tried to fit into a crowd which simply did not get me. Don't get me wrong, I still feel very lonely, but this year I'm starting to feel a little more like part of life. There are a lot of people in 2019 who have changed my life and I just want to thank you all for being in it.

Not To Be Forgotten


The highlights that I can't miss. From being nominated as one of the top 3 most 'Remarkable Women' in the North East to getting VIP Press Tickets with my best friend to see WICKED (and the after party) in the West End. I saw Hamilton too which was absolutely incredible! Being featured on The One Show to being printed on Metro's Hot List., this year has certainly been unbelievable!

It's Not All Plain Sailing


I look back at this list and I'm thinking "Wow Kate, look at you". Yes, I've done some incredible things. But, a lot of it has come at a cost. I have had a lot of health problems, some of them have given us the biggest scare. I push my body to it's absolute limits, especially when I get opportunities which involve travelling/modelling/dancing and at one stage this year we were genuinely concerned I was going to stop breathing and there was nothing we could do - that's how serious my condition can get. I've been in hospital an awful lot, I've been in bed a lot and I still haven't had a day without severe fatigue/pain. I try keep my platforms fairly open and honest, but I still hide a lot of my condition and it's impact on myself and others. It's easy to see all the achievements on screen and think 'Kate is doing better'. These past few months, I have been able to use my energy on amazing things and I have been so much better than in previous years when I couldn't even move. But, I'm all aware of how temporary this may be. I've had times like this before and gone into major relapse so I'm just making the most out of every single second. And, I hope you'll enjoy it with me.

I do small vlogs daily on instagram @katestanforth when I can to show you the highs and lows of living with a chronic illness and some of the reality of my condition rather than just the 'perfect social media' side. Do feel free to give me a follow if you'd like to see more!

I hope 2020 brings you good health, happiness and love. 










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