“So this is me. A 40+ disabled mother of three about to embark on what is probably the most life changing journey since I became a mother. I have been given an incredible gift of a flying scholarship by FSDP and I am going to make the most of it”
Karen wrote this in one of her first blogs after being awarded a scholarship in March. Karen suffers from osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and hypermobility syndrome and has always struggled to accept that she is disabled. During the selection process at Cranwell, Karen came into contact with some remarkable candidates with a range of disabilities and learned a lot about herself and what being ‘disabled’ actually meant.
“For me being awarded a scholarship was far more than the physical act of learning to fly; it was overcoming the fear of being without my support network, of rediscovering the person I used to be – before the pain and fatigue took over. I want to find the courage to drive again , to feel confident enough in myself to go out alone”
Karen learned to fly back in July. ‘Learning to fly
was intense; emotionally, physically and mentally.
I felt incredible the whole time. At the beginning
of my scholarship I had felt scared and unsafe amongst strangers.
FSDP has changed that – I have met so many strangers who have been nothing but kind,
supportive and generous.’ On her last day she was delighted to take her husband and daughter for a flight over the beautiful Cotswold countryside.
Before returning home to Lossiemouth in Scotland, Karen was awarded her scholarship certificate by HRH Prince Faisal of Jordan and the Chief of the Air Staff. She was delighted to be re-united with the other successful candidates who she had met at Cranwell as well as past scholars who she is sure she will keep in touch with.
“FSDP have given me back something I hadn’t even realised I had lost; me. And I would like to give something back in return’. To help raise funds for the FSDP Scholars’ Scholar fund Karen decided to crochet and sell planes. I am going to make the most of my new found confidence having been sprinkled with a healthy dollop of FSDP magic – being seen on my mobility scooter, driving, going abroad on holiday, meeting new people. It feels like the next chapter of my FSDP scholarship is just about to begin, and the learning to fly was merely the prologue to the rest of my life.”