Dublin graduate, 24, with cerebral palsy calls for support to avoid ‘worst nightmare’ of ending up in nursing home

0 24 year old daniel airey.jpg
0 24 year old daniel airey.jpg

A 24-year-old Ballinteer man with cerebral palsy is calling for greater support so that he can enter the workforce and avoid his “worst nightmare” of ending up in a nursing home.

Daniel Airey’s eight personal assistant (PA) hours were cut once he graduated from his masters degree in Broadcast Production for Television and Radio.

Daniel told Dublin Live that it is impossible for him to achieve his career goals without those hours and that he just wants to have a positive impact on society.

He said: “Since then, I have been on the job hunt but that’s where the PA comes in because I can apply for all the jobs I want but if I don’t have a personal assistant available to me then I can’t do a job to the fullest extent of my ability.

“Throughout my academic life I had access to a personal assistant throughout the day.

“Essentially, it helped me navigate through my studies and I have gotten to a point now where I want to make a meaningful contribution to society and yet I can’t do that effectively without access to a PA.

“There isn’t a transitional procedure in place whereby you graduate from academia into work-life, paying taxes and doing what every citizen does.”

Daniel has faced every obstacle in his path with determination and positivity, eager to share other people’s stories as a presenter and through his podcast.

His family are going through an incredibly difficult time at the moment as his dad is getting treatment for aggressive prostate cancer.

Daniel’s worst nightmare is that he would end up living in a nursing home, something he cannot even think about.

He said: “Personally, I’ve always put my mental as paramount importance. It would make a really difficult situation more difficult if I was to get into a particularly low spot.

“We are in a position at the minute where mum has been my primary carer for 24 years and dad is now dealing with chemo at the minute.

“It’s becoming increasingly critical that this gets sorted. I am in a position where I go into a nursing home.

“That is a nightmare for me. I’ve had breakdowns about this. I don’t even dare to think about where I would be if that was to happen.

A PA helps Daniel with the daily things that many of take for granted and would be essential to helping him living an independent and fulfilled adult life.

He said: “A PA is essentially an extension of my limbs.

“It would mean helping me get up in the morning, helping me get breakfast ready, getting things ready for work, getting all that sorted and then getting me into work, spending the day with me as I work ,getting back home again, getting dinner ready, getting everything ready for the next day and of course getting to bed again.

“There is an awful lot in that, that’s what I’ve been told.

“They worry that if you get them [the PA hours], you might not use them how they are meant to be used.

“At the same time, how I use a PA is my own choice. I need this support to be able to live my life to the fullest possible degree.”

Daniel wants to have a role in society where he can share other people’s stories and make positive change on the world around him.

He said: “The ideal job would be presenting. I would absolutely love to present TV or radio. I love the media. I love that the media has the ability to shape how we view ourselves and view society as a whole.

“I’ve always been really passionate about disability representation and disability rights.

“I can’t advocate for other people like I want to do to the fullest extent of my ability through the media without my own support.”

The former First Dates Ireland contestant has been blown away by the reaction to his petition but says action is now needed.

He said: “It’s been really good so far but at the same time we are trying to stay realistic and optimistic at the same time. We are trying to keep the momentum going with it as much as we possibly can.

“It’s all good talking about it but if there’s no action taken off the bat of it, then I’m potentially where I was.

“The petition has given us a massive boost just to see the reaction that it has gotten so far.”

You can sign Daniel’s petition for the PA hours he needs to live independently here.

His podcast his available here and on Spotify.

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