Hannah Shelmerdine is a passionate, adventurous young woman with severe cerebral palsy, a group of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood. Her mobility and her vision are severely impaired and she needs round-the-clock care from support workers. When Hannah’s journey began, she was never alone but her lifestyle meant she was extremely lonely. Bored with her routine, she was isolated, depressed and longed for a sense of achievement. The chance to try a new activity opened the door to independence, exhilaration and the confidence to express herself.
We (VLZ, my film production company) first met Hannah as one of the participants of a video project commissioned by charity Activity Alliance to show how sports providers can offer a better experience to disabled people. We filmed five disabled sports people as part of the project and I really clicked with Hannah. Her story was so powerful that I felt compelled to go deeper by making a short documentary and photo-essay, expressing her journey in images and in her own words.
Hannah's story is one of courage, dedication and human resilience and I feel privileged that Hannah has allowed me an insight into her world.