Rashmi Barker

Rashmir Barker

What is your disability? I had polio in my left leg and hip and so now wear a full length calliper to help me walk.

What school did you attend? I went to a school in Birmingham called Swanshurst Girls School.

Where do you live?


What did you do after you left school?

I went to college to re sit exams and then ended up taking a Business Studies HND, which lead me to go on to take my Degree in Youth Studies.

How does your disability affect your everyday life?

Well I try not to let it. I work full time. I am in pain usually but pain killers help with that and a positive outlook on life definitely helps. My mum and dad taught me to focus on the fact that I can do it rather than I cannot and not to rely on others, thus making me quite independent.

In my later years I have learnt to ask for help as I am not as young and fit as I used to be. I also have a hand cycle which I like to get out on and I also like to swim.

Can you give us a brief timeline of your career and achievements throughout your life to present day?

1978 ish – I represented Bradford in Polio Games at Stoke Mandeville – swimming and javelin
1980s – I appeared in a community play (big step for my confidence), got my HND, got accepted to do a degree, and went travelling around the world
1991 –  I achieved my degree and got a job in Croydon as a youth worker – moved out from mum and dads’ to live on my own!
Delivered youth work training at Roehampton University and for the part time youth   workers in Croydon.
1994 – I passed my driving test
1998 – I got promoted to senior youth worker
2003 – I got married and now live in Darwen
My biggest achievement is that despite wearing a full length calliper I have worked full time in various jobs. I have also travelled the world, won competitions of table tennis and swimming.
2013 – I was asked to join Empowered people who are a charity who enable people with disabilities to take part in major cycling events. I will be cycling around Anglesey over 2 days in May 2015. This is an awesome opportunity for an amateur cyclist and so I couldn’t refuse.

What is your proudest achievement?

That I have been a positive role model to many people, young and old. The way I live my life and my outlook on life has (I know) helped others and so there’s nothing more I could be proud of!

What current activities are you involved in at the moment?

Well I work in a school, supporting vulnerable young people. Obviously my bike ride has brought a fresh focus, so trying to keep active and get fit too! pilates, swimming, table tennis.

What have you planned for the future?

Probably a move to be nearer loved ones as life is too short and the M6 is a nightmare!  The plans are always just to be happy and keep my little family moving forwards. Get a great work life balance, look after our health, and not worry too much!

Disability Definitions


Poliomyelitis often called polio or infantile paralysis is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. Approximately 90% to 95% of infections cause no symptoms. Another 5 to 10% of people have minor symptoms such as: fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhoea, neck stiffness and pains in the arms and legs. These people are usually back to normal within one or two weeks. In about 0.5% of cases there is muscle weakness resulting in an inability to move. The weakness most often involves the legs but may less commonly involve the muscles of the head, neck and diaphragm. Years after recovery post-polio syndrome may occur, with a slow development of muscle weakness similar to what the person had during the initial infection.


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