Tatiana, YMCA Exeter

From the moment Tatiana came to live at YMCA, she has been an inspiration to both the residents and staff. She was born with Cerebral Palsy, is profoundly deaf, communicates by British Sign Language (BSL), is predominantly wheel chair bound, and although she is able to walk short distances with a walkabout, her legs are unable to support her without aid.

Tatiana was born with these conditions and has faced many challenges throughout her life. However she has been a trailblazer for many people with similar challenges.

Tatiana wanted to move from her home in the south east of England to Exeter, where there is a bigger deaf community. Her decision to leave her loving family demonstrated her radical, brave and exceptional attitude. Once Tatiana moved to YMCA and began living more independently, the support from YMCA and ROC, who also support her, decreased by over 50% as Tatiana began overcoming challenges.

Tatiana has now applied for her own flat and will move out of YMCA in a month’s time. However, her ‘live life to the full’ attitude has allowed her to undertake other ventures.

She has been a champion for those with physical disabilities within YMCA. She runs a weekly BSL class and has been fully involved in shaping the YMCA community, sharing her views and ideas. She swims, horse rides and dances each week and recently travelled to Manchester with her boyfriend returning with a gold medal from a national dance competition.

When we as a staff team look at Tatiana and how she lives life amidst all of her daily challenges, and is able to do this without being knocked down by it all, we are both humbled and inspired to live more fully.