Inspirational women #4: Dianne

This week we have been posting stories of inspirational female Young Voices campaigners to mark International Women’s Day. Here’s Dianne’s story:

Dianne standing in the street with her guitar, next to her crutchesMy name is Dianne. I am 21 years old and I come from the Philippines. My parents both died when I was young. At the age of 11 I was diagnosed with bone cancer. My left leg had to be amputated and I spent two years in hospital.

Accepting my parents’ death and facing cancer at a very young age made my childhood life harder. I had to stop studying for a year because of emotional depression. There were times that I felt like giving up the fight for life. But with the help of a Belgian missionary sister, I was able to recover and cope with my disability. I changed my outlook on life, and began to believe that any form of disability should not stop you achieving what you want to achieve. I continued studying and valued education much more. I decided I wanted to strive hard and inspire people, especially, cancer patients and people with disabilities.

I now consider myself an advocate of people with disabilities and am deeply involved in many advocacy campaigns through Leonard Cheshire Young Voices. I am also passionate about music and I am a member of Musicability, a group of young and talented musicians who are all campaigners with Young Voices.

In September 2012, I was selected as the official young person with a disability delegate from the Philippines to attend and speak at the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities International Conference held at the UN Headquarters in New York City, USA. Last November I was again honored to represent the Philippines and Young Voices in the 2013 European Development Days held in Brussels, Belgium. There, I talked about the achievements and initiatives of the young people with disabilities and how we should be included in international development.

Since I got cancer, every day of my life has been really a miracle. I strongly believe that God has blessed me to live longer, survive the obstacles and trials in life and inspire many people. My life has been journey and I truly appreciate its meaning and value through the love and support of all the people around me and those who believe in my abilities.