Please Offer Me a Seat

I am a brain tumour survivor, for that I thank many people, not least my brilliant medical team and support crew. Whilst I am recovering well, I do still have one or two issues, which means that when I travel on public transport I need to be seated, otherwise I run the risk of ending up on the floor, as the bus, or train, as it invariably does, lurches, or stops suddenly, or rounds a corner at an angle askew of the strictly perpendicular. The issue, for me, is balance, or the lack of it – I still have a small amount of the tumour in my brain, left there post surgery, as it was crushing my brain stem and so the medical wisdom is that it can stay there indefinitely as long as it doesn’t cause trouble. The downside to that scenario is that the tumour impacts on the part of the brain that enables us all to maintain our balance.

‘Please Offer Me a Seat’ is a project for all people who would appreciate a seat on the bus or train, making their journey just that little bit easier. I have never had a problem obtaining a seat, people are very generous but on the flip-side is the reality that most people who require a seat, who would love to know that when they need a seat on a bus or train, are not inclined to ask for one, yet if there was some way of letting their fellow passengers know that they’d appreciate a helping hand, it would make all the difference. It’s here that an important point needs to be made – in most instances for most people who need a seat, it’s not apparent to others that they do need one. I have spoken to people in this situation, who are sometimes embarrassed to ask for a seat when they needn’t be, in fact shouldn’t be. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for a seat, it’s a sign of strength.

Disability comes in many forms and most of us know at least one person who may be in a position of living with a permanent or temporary condition that makes standing in public transport difficult. A similar scheme works well in London, they even very kindly sent us some of their badges. The NSW State Minister for Transport currently has before him a proposal, from my local state member, supporting the scheme. We also have a letter of support from the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore. We envisage holding a design competition in our schools for our kids to design a logo. Whilst this project will require much planning, it’s a project whose time has come – there is no doubt that it will come to fruition and start a conversation about living with a disability. ‘Please Offer Me a Seat’ represents a small component in helping us all to live in community.

If you would like to take part in the initial trial of this project then please contact me and I will add you to our list of participants. Even if you don’t want to participate, contact us and let us know that you support this great initiative.

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