Why I Support DSUK – Tricia Blaxill, Owner of trixski Ski Accessories
With so many worthwhile voluntary organisations and charities it’s hard to know who best to support. I suppose we all have causes that resonate with us for a whole host of reasons and it’s that which probably guides our hearts in the end. I’ve gone through a range of support phases depending on what’s been going on in my own life at the time: becoming a vegetarian (Vegetarian Society)and being more aware of our planet’s fragility (Greenpeace) to name but two. However, my own experience in childhood seems to have been the greatest influence on my choices in adulthood.
My father was a WW2 veteran and was blown up when driving over a landmine in Northern Italy at the tender age of 26. The driver was killed and my father was extremely lucky to survive, albeit with life changing injuries. He was repatriated and spent many months in hospital, where he was fitted with a prosthetic leg which articulated at the knee and was given skin grafts from his abdomen to patch up one hand where he’d also lost a finger. As a very small child I observed the challenges he experienced just getting ready for work each day; strapping a very heavy metal leg onto his stump, which was often very sore, and having to wear a wide strap across his body to hold the leg in place, having to park near his place of work because walking long distances was difficult, having a bedroom downstairs with a bathroom next to it because he found one-step-at-a-time hard work to get upstairs. It became part of our lives to understand that he couldn’t play tennis with my sisters and me, couldn’t bend down to weed the garden or paint the skirting boards without the difficulty of moving further along the floor and getting up again. Thank goodness prostheses have changed out of recognition since that time.
It was only when I was old enough to understand the physical and emotional aspects of his condition that I had more empathy for others who have disabilities. In 2002 I volunteered to work with war victims as a deep tissue massage therapist,in Bosnia, through a charity called the Healing Hands Network. Many of the clients had also suffered ballistic injuries and an even greater number the emotional trauma. I did about 25 two week tours of duty over 12 years and became a director of the charity for several years before I retired. I even went to Sarajevo on holiday and skied the men’s downhill slope from the 1984 Olympics. The work was very much a life changing experience, not only for my own perspective on disability but to give a purpose to one’s existence and legacy.
This brings me up to the present because I’m a really keen skier and, after retiring in 2017, I started Trixski Ski Accessories, initially to enhance the whole skiing experience through my products. However, as life has a habit of doing,I’ve met some truly inspiring people – customers and colleagues in the industry– who have influenced my direction with the business. So, now we have the raison d’etre of Making It Easy to…. carry skis, or even two pairs of skis,fasten your boots, keep your feet warm etc etc all issues that can be particularly relevant to disabled people. Feedback from some of my customers has brought tears to my eyes, which makes the whole thing doubly worthwhile.
I first met DSUK a few years ago at the Telegraph Ski and Board Show and just clicked with their amazing work, so have supported them ever since. I have a DSUK collection box whenever I exhibit at shows (giving a free carrier bag and asking for a donation is never refused), donate raffle prizes, have signed up to the DSUK raffle, de-cluttered my house and advertised the pre-loved items superfluous to my life on our local “Great Barford is Generous” community site and asked takers of the items to donate to DSUK instead of payment. The latest project is to do an Energy Boost-Ball recipe book aimed at skiers and other active people, whereby DSUK will benefit from each sale of the book. I’maiming for this to be ready for late summer 2020, just before the ski season restarts (ever the optimist!)
I’m sure there will be many more ways I can support DSUK in the future and I’m very proud to partner with them and support their wonderful work through activities which also give me so much joy. They say if you have a job you love you’ll never work another day in your life. That’s certainly true in my case!