We would just to thank Hannah Ensor who has agreed to be a HMSA Patron for our children and teens.
Hannah does so much for the HMSA already, including her Stickman products (stickmancommunications.co.uk) and also raising awareness of HMS at every chance she gets! She will now work 'officially' for the HMSA as an ambassador. I have twisted her arm and she is writing a biography so those that dont know her can learn about what an incredible person she is and how she manages her HMS so positively.
Hannah regularly speaks in schools and we hope that she will be able to continue to do so on our behalf. She is also attending the Residential Weekend where I am sure she will be speaking and also meeting you all at her stall.
Please join me in thanking Hannah for making it official!
Offical Biography!Hannah Ensor, Author and Illustrator
As a child Drs decided there was nothing wrong with her and that her problems were 'all in the head', but her Mum concluded she was bendy, injured more easily than most people and took longer to heal. She also decided that this wasn't indicative of anything serious, just 'how Hannah was'. Something to respect, but not worry about. Except make sure Hannah stood with good posture, kept as active as possible and didn't get too exhausted. It wasn't until she was diagnosed that Hannah realised just how wise her Mum had been.
Hannah got through school with good grades despite an unusually high level of sickness absence - including missing 6 months in year 7, and went on to complete A-Levels and get a 1st Class Honours degree in Environmental Health from King's College London, followed by a career in Environmental Health. Within 2 years of starting work, the random joint issues and fatigue had reached disabling levels and she was diagnosed with HMS/EDS, and a year later with POTS.
It was when hospitalised with her first severe POTS attack, which left her too weak to hold a proper conversation for months, that the first bendy stickmen appeared. Posted on the hypermobility forum they proved popular and became a booklet.
She continued working until 2009, adapting her hours, role and office around her complex requirements (joint strain, temperature, rest breaks etc.), and drawing stickmen primarily because she thinks they are funny, but also to raise money for the HMSA and awareness and understanding of HMS, until her medical retirement in 2010 - age 29.
After retiring, Hannah worked a few of hours a month as a Maths tutor, but being an author and illustrator has now taken over. She has 4 disability cartoon books (a fifth is well on the way) raising money for the HMSA, 2 children's books raising money for Whizz-Kidz, plus stickman wheelchair signs, communication cards, other disability related products and commissioned work including T-shirt designs for comedian Lost Voice Guy, the CMTA - and of course the HMSA!
In addition to the awareness raising work of each book she has created, Hannah is increasingly in demand at events, disability fairs, booksignings, and schools - working to create a better future for us all.
A combination of physiotherapy, learning to control her movements, pacing, medication, respecting her limits, pushing her boundries, making the most of everything and generally choosing to focus on the positives means that she lives a full and happy life. So what if she uses wheels to get out and about, rests frequently and owns an enough supports to create an entire exoskeleton?
Although proud of her stickman empire, Hannah thinks her greatest achievements have been in learning to manage her HMS/EDS and POTS and keeping up with her physio regime. It is an ongoing learning process, but has made so much difference to her life.
Having said that, her proudest day of all time has to be 26th April 2012.
The day she was officially appointed HMSA Patron for Kids and Teens.