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Deaf identity: The twin runners showing us why it matters

On 29th May, wonderful fundraisers Harriet and Annabel are running the Edinburgh marathon for Deaf EXperience (DEX) - because fostering deaf indentities matters.

Elliot Green
Elliot Green

When it comes to hearing loss, there's no right or wrong way to be deaf. Every deaf person has a unique deaf identity, integral to their personal confidence and wellbeing.

DEX brings together and supports young deaf people in Yorkshire. As one of their volunteers, Harriet has decided to run the Edinburgh marathon with her sister to raise funds for this fantastic charity.  

Harriet, who's hearing deteriorated at the same time she was studying to be a nurse at university, has had to overcome real personal challenges to ensure she can communicate effectively with her team and her patients. DEX supported Harriet at a critical time, when face masks were introduced in hospitals as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Harriet received support to develop a strong deaf identity, and she now has an amazing team of interpreters at work, who help her when she meets her patients and talks to other staff.

"DEX are important to me because they helped build my deaf identity and built my confidence. I would really appreciate if you could sponsor me and DEX would be able to support more deaf people." - Harriet

Take a look at Harriet's fantastic video about her story and why DEX is so important to her. Harriet explains (signs!) why she wants to raise funds to ensure DEX can go on to help other young deaf people - through their early years and as they transition to adulthood.

Support Harriet

Find out more about Harriet's challenge and make a donation by visiting her wonderful fundraising page:

Wonderful.org | Edinburgh Marathon for DEX
Hello! Thank you for finding your way onto my fundraising page - I have attached a video in BSL explaining why I have decided to run a marathon and included

What is a deaf identity?

Developing a deaf identity helps an individual feel proud of who they are, including the unique and positive qualities related to their deafness. It helps them to confidently position themselves so that others fully understand them.

As the National Deaf Children's society puts it:

"How you identify as a deaf person is unique to you. Working out your deaf identity can help you feel proud of who you are and to take ownership of your preferred communication style.

"Some deaf young people grow up feeling like being deaf just means frequent trips to audiology, meetings with Teachers of the Deaf or being taken out of class for extra support. You might feel like professionals try to ‘fix’ situations where your deafness means things are difficult and different. This might mean that you don’t have a positive deaf identity because you associate your deafness with things that are hard work or boring.

"In fact, there are lots of positive things that come from being deaf! For example, being able to remove your hearing technology might mean you can sleep better through loud noises, like your partner snoring or a big storm. Being able to lip-read might mean you find it easier to have a conversation in a noisy room. And having the opportunity to be part of the deaf community allows you to meet lots of other deaf people!"

Supporting DEX

Because DEX is registered with Wonderful, the charity receives every penny donated, including when you support incredible fundraisers like Harriet and her sister. Find out more about DEX's work with young deaf people in Yorkshire by visiting the DEX website.

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