Hannah Diviney is an incredible young woman who has carved out an amazing life for herself.
At 23-years-old, she is a published writer, prolific disability advocate, actor, Editor in Chief at Missing Perspectives, was recently awarded Marie Claire’s ‘Voice of Now’ and is co-founder of the Krazy Kosci Klimb.
Hannah has been receiving services from Cerebral Palsy Alliance since she was 12 weeks old.
‘I was born premature at 27 ½ weeks. I was no bigger than a bag of sugar and I weighed just over a kilo. It became pretty obvious that something wasn’t right. They did a scan on my brain and found a bleed. I was diagnosed with CP.’
Hannah’s initial prognosis was bleak: she would not be able to walk, talk or feed herself.
Today, Hannah can walk with the assistance of her walker, although she mainly uses her wheelchair, and she navigates the world pretty easily.
‘I’ve done physiotherapy, occupational therapy, exercise physiology. I think I’ve tried every service that’s available’, she laughs.
The idea for the Krazy Kosci Klimb came about in 2012 when a family friend, Mick Campbell, put the idea in her head.
‘Mickey is the kind of guy who runs 100km instead of running a marathon. He’s done all of these insane feats of physical endurance. He said to me “how would you feel about climbing Mount Kosciuszko?” and I said “what do you mean? I can’t do that.”
Then I thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if we could get other people with CP involved? They’ve probably never thought about climbing Mount Kosciuszko either.”’
It was no mean feat getting the idea off the ground.
‘We were sitting in a rigorous risk assessment meeting, looking at everything that could possibly go wrong. It was probably one of the most intense meetings of my life. There I was, 13 years old, thinking “what have we done?”’
The trial didn’t go too well either.
‘We had a car breakdown. I got a flat tyre on my wheelchair which had never happened before. The weather was terrible. At one point it was raining horizontally. We got three quarters up the mountain before we had to turn around. Every sign from the universe was telling us this was a bad idea.’
Despite the initial challenges, Hannah believes they were for the best.
‘We learnt a lot from that experience. In such a wild, natural environment, you can’t predict what the weather will do. You have to be prepared for every possibility.’
Then came the launch.
‘On the actual weekend, I had no idea how it was going to go. I was worried we had missed something or over-extended ourselves. When the last person crossed the line, I was so relieved. Then people were asking me what the event would be like next year, and I thought “what do you mean next year?” It still blows me away, the fact it is still going.’
For Hannah, Krazy Kosci Klimb is about so much more than climbing a mountain.
‘I said from the beginning that if we’re going to do this, we need to do it right. It’s really important that people with disabilities see their own capabilities.
But it is equally important for able-bodied people actually see that just because someone has a disability doesn’t mean their life is one dimensional. It’s hardly ever easy being disabled, but it’s not sad. We want to be out in the world and doing things.’
It’s also important to Hannah to allow families of people with CP to be a family, rather than a family with a disabled child.
‘‘Every year the team at Cerebral Palsy Alliance and the corporate sponsors work with the families to achieve their goal and also financially support the event.
Cost can be a real barrier, especially when trying to find accessible accommodation. One family with six kids came to us and said “We’ve never had a family holiday before. We’ve never been able to do something that hasn’t felt like a giant battle.” Krazy Kosci provides a break.’
Hannah’s message to anyone considering donating to Krazy Kosci is simple:
‘You’re supporting a wonderful cause. What you’re doing is investing in the futures of people with disability. That pays dividends that are almost impossible to describe. You’re saying you support us; you believe us, you value our life experiences.
It’s important that you continue to invest in our futures. There are a lot of us.
While Krazy Kosci is a great event, there are so many ways people with disability need to be valued and seen. Disabled success should not be limited to physical things. I’d like to see more people with disability in classrooms, as doctors or on TV.
Create a seat at the table for us at everyday spaces, because you can’t be what you can’t see.’
To donate the Krazy Kosci Klimb, click below:
You can follow Hannah on Twitter at @hannah_diviney or Instagram at @hannahthewildflower.