International Women's Day (IWD) is a global day (March 8) celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
The theme of the 2021 celebrations is ’Choose to Challenge’.
And on this day, I would like to pay tribute to a very special lady who is a glowing example of someone who has chosen to take the challenge to overcome the difficulties that life has thrown her way.
And that Lady is Amy-Rose Atkinson.
Amy Rose is a deaf musician.
She comes from a family of musician and performers, her dad being the famous children’s entertainer – Colonel Custard. She, herself is oozing with talent from dancing, to singing to playing umpteen musical instruments.
Amy Rose started to lose her hearing when she was a teenager, by which point she and already started working professionally as a musician and entertainer.
She began her training in British Sign Language at the age of 13 and after leaving school went to university to study drama.
This is when we first met Amy-Rose.
She arrived to at our home one evening, in middle of the night with our son Adam.
“Mum, Dad, meet my girlfriend – Arry.” he said as he introduced us to the beautiful lady who was clinging onto his arm.
She must have been petrified…. The first meeting of the parents.
“Did you say Harry?” I questioned.
She looked like a women to me.
A girl called Harry. Well that was unique.
“No ARA – Amy-Rose Atkinson – ARA,” she giggled. “ But my friends nicknamed me Arry!”
It was love at first sight.
I thought she was adorable.
And from that day hence she will always be Harry to me, with a ‘H’
And Harold to Andy.
We then sat up to the early hours of the morning, drinking whisky and getting very drunk.
And since then she has brought nothing but joy to our family.
In 2016 Andy and I became very proud in-laws, when Adam and Arry got married.
Now I know that this is enough already to celebrate.
But there’s a whole lot more about Arry that people do not know.
She has had a lot of challenges to face but she has always faced the
curve balls that life has thrown her way with determination and true grit.
We have seen her struggle with a bad back, which I know has caused her a lot of pain, and for a time she had to use a wheelchair to get around. She had to stop her ballet dancing, because of the injury. It was so beautiful to see her dance.
She has struggled with her deafness, something that we have never known her to complain about. There are times when we forget she is deaf because she is so good at lip reading. And when we are all jabbering on together around the Christmas table or in the pub, or of late, on our weekly zoom calls, she never tells us that she is struggling to hear and keep up with the conversation. She just smiles and let's us continue talking our usual crap.
But the biggest blow happened two years ago when she suffered a brain injury.
Since that horrendous day, when we all thought that the life had been sucked out of this dynamic young lady, Arry has continued to fight the battle.
She has suffered with memory loss.
Her speech has been affected too and we know she finds it frustrating, though she will never say, when she can not form words correctly, but she always finds the ability to laugh when she comes out with words such as 'shhips' for 'chips' and 'sangwidges' for 'sandwiches'.
And then there has been the mind splitting headaches.
We don’t know why this happened to her and perhaps we never will, but Arry has never given up.
She has come out fighting, determined to beat the crap out of the illness.
She has overcome the challenges and the knockbacks and despite everything she has demonstrated true resilience.
And despite all of the above Arry is now a successful freelance consultant engaging people in music and the arts, whatever their ability
She is a credit to all women, and an example of how we can all help create an inclusive world.
Here’s to Amy-Rose Atkinson
AKA Arry Medlock
Please enjoy this awesome video that Arry has made.
'Brave' by Sara Bareilles, signed by Amy-Rose Atkinson
To find out more about Amy-Rose, please click here