When was the last time you tried something for the first time? Sometimes, simply saying yes to new opportunities can open the door to a new outlook, new friends and new possibilities.
Challenging himself to try new things was Stephen’s main aim when he joined the Newington Community Choir about three years ago.
Music hadn’t been part of his past but a few inspirational words from his daughter gave Stephen the motivation to sing from the heart. He admits he’s no Sinatra but his ability has progressively improved over the past few years.
Stephen was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis about 30 years ago: a diagnosis that came as quite a shock.
“I suddenly went numb down the side of my body. Then the doctors did some tests and the results confirmed MS,” he explained.
“It was difficult to deal with. I was in my early 30s when it happened and it was a big shock. At that stage, I was a young man, I had young children and family commitments. I just needed to get on with it.”
”We had to make some adjustments but my family was really supportive,” he said.
Stephen’s daughter was flipping through pages of the local newspaper when she saw a listing for the choir. Wanting to be more active, Stephen decided to give it a go.
“I felt that I wasn’t challenging myself and I got sick of not doing anything,” he said.
“I wanted to go out and do something I’d never done before.
“I was excited, nervous and a bit apprehensive before starting. I had never sung before, but I saw it as an opportunity to get motivated.
“Singing is a part of my life that I never thought I’d be doing when I was a younger man.”
His Just Better Care Support Professional Ziad drove him to his first practice and assisted by turning the music pages.
Then Ziad decided to join the choir too.
“If he had to stand behind me to turn the pages, we thought he may as well sing along too. He has a very good singing voice!” Stephen said.
Once a month, the choir performs a varied repertoire of music for the local community, from La Bomba through to Merry Christmas. To keep things interesting, they sometimes sing in other languages like Spanish and French.
“That requires a little more practice and concentration, but I enjoy giving it a go,” Stephen said.
“It’s important to keep pushing yourself in this life, even when it seems really difficult. You can meet a lot of great people and achieve great things when you are willing to get outside your comfort zone and give it a go.”
To read more stories like this, check out the latest issue of Possible.