After becoming slightly obsessed with the new Bitstrips app and creating an Anna Kennedy avatar, Anna suggested I might like to make a comic highlighting awareness of bullying for the 'Give Us A Break' campaign. I got stuck straight in to it but the idea quickly evolved into a full blown Autism / Asperger's Awareness comic.
I published this comic onto facebook and straight away it was a big hit and very popular and Anna decided it would be great to see if we could get it printed. With the permission from Bitstrips and sponsored by Achieve Magazine this was achieved and the comic was launched at the presentation on Autism and Diagnosis at the House of Commons.
It is available to buy from Anna Kennedy Online, please click here for more details on how to get hold of a copy!
It was Anti-Bullying Week from the 18-22 November and to promote Anna Kennedy Online's Give Us A Break campaign I wrote a short article about bullying for the Anna Kennedy Online website.
Please click here to view the article
Alternatively view my blog post re Anti-Bullying Week
Anna Kennedy Online took their hit show Autism's Got Talent on the road to Bromley, Kent at Baston House School.
Here I gave a speech about some of my experiences growing up and this was quite emotional for me. Anna Kennedy has asked me to give this speech at the House of Commons in December.
As usual the show was epic with brilliant performances from all involved.
For a write up about this event please click here
November has been a month of accolades for me and one accolade I was very proud to receive was a Martial Arts Illustrated Hall of Fame award. My award was for determination and achievement in martial arts and I was very honoured to receive this in front of so many dedicated and top martial artists.
My team mates Jack Bristowe, Alexander Barrowman and Kevin Williams all also received awards, as did my coach Alex Barrowman for lifetime achievement.
Click here to see my blog post regarding this award
Austin Hughes of AKO nominated me for Northamptonshire Sports Disabled Sports Person of the Year award. Having won this award last year and being up against some great sports people including two Paralympians I didn't think I would win this award, so when I did I was very taken aback.
On the night my coach Alex Barrowman was also up for the Coach of the Year award after winning this same award at the Corby Sports Awards. Unfortunately on this occasion he just lost out to a coach of a professional sports team, but he will always be my coach of the year.
Click here to read my blog post about this award
On the 14th October I travelled out to Italy where I won my third kickboxing World Title. I also came back with a silver medal in the women's team. This trip did not run as smoothly as I would have hoped with more significant challenges to face than usual.
Upon returning from the World Championships I fought in a fight show against World Champion Laura Wylde of NWCKB and won. This was my last competitive outing in 2013 and I am now preparing to begin training for the Irish Open at the start of 2014.
Click here to find out more about experiences at the World Championships via my blog
It seemed impossible that I would be able to meet my target of fundraising enough money to attend the World Championships this year. However thanks largely to the kindness of some great people I have been able to do so. Please have a look at my sponsors page for information on the support I have received over recent years.
This year I managed to raise the funds through a range of channels. Firstly I managed to raise a significant amount via my fund page through donations from some very generous people - I have tried to thank people individually through email for their donations. After meeting Anna Kennedy on Twitter I was able to meet some great people who have done so much to support my cause. Austin Hughes who made it his own personal mission to secure the funds for me to go has been fantastic writing letters to MPs and making sure my fund page was shared. Vicky and Mick Cordwell, along with friends and other members of the local AKO group put on a fundraiser for me which raised just over £300. Anna herself who donated through the fund page and shared my fund page. Geoff Major of @hashtagINVOLVE, a charity fundraiser sponsored me with £250 and also vowed to help me with a plan to fundraise for future competitions.
My family have also been incredibly helpful with my older brother donating £100 and my dad aiming to give me some money which I will be able to use to pay off my next scheduled international early in 2014 . Tristan and Kay Dawson who I view as my family also generously sponsored me with £300 for the World Championships.
I have been incredibly lucky to have met such wonderful people this year and thank them from the bottom of my heart for their support and generosity. It means so much to me to be able to do what I love and now I am faced with the hard task of winning world title number 3!
I have recently been in to a couple of schools to deliver school assemblies. First I went to Denfield Primary where not only did I give an assembly but also was able to spend time with the children in the ASD unit. I took some of my medals in to show the children and they were keen to show me their brain gym exercise and ask some questions. I also showed them a couple of moves and how I warm up for a fight and finished off by showing them a video of some of my fight highlights and asking them what their dream or goal was. One young girl who was the only girl in the unit told me that when she was older she wanted to like me and this has really stuck with me, that my visit could be so powerful to her.
I also visited a year 10 class at Manor School in Raunds. Here the pupils asked me a range of questions about my kickboxing experiences. I also had some questions to ask them about their achievements and their aims for the future. I really enjoyed speaking to them and finding out about what they wanted to achieve. It was also important to me to encourage them to celebrate their own personal achievements no matter how small they might have seemed and I was so pleased when a boy with Asperger's told me he had achieved something great that day by sitting his maths test without panicking and getting wound up as was usual for him. A great achievement for him.
Finally I visited Friars School in Wellingborough, headed by one of my old PE teachers. I was probably the last person she might have expected to become a kickboxing world champion but there I was. I gave an assembly to the pupils there complete with video and showed them different equipment I used to fight in. After the assembly I stayed to spend some time with some of the pupils and it proved to be yet another enjoyable experience.