My name is Pravjoth Gill, I am the CEO and Founder of Movement Fitness and Nutrition. I went through a phase where I felt trapped within myself and did not feel that I was healthy. This encourages me to form this organisation where we bring together a community of people that many organisations do not bring. So I will tell you guys about my personal experience:
Childhood – growing up with cerebral palsy
If some people do not know, I was born with left-sided hemiplegic cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a physical and psychological disability where it affects the motor area of the brain’s outer layer (called the cerebral cortex), the part of the brain that directs muscle movement. My specific condition is left-sided hemiplegic cerebral palsy, which affects the left side of my body and I had faced from mobility and left that side of my leg and arm half paralysed. My left leg has been heavily impacted where my posture and my walking patterns were affected. This disadvantaged me in a lot of activities growing up such as running, playing football and basketball. This has also affected me making friends as well as children did not have much knowledge about my disability and so it was so hard to make friends growing up. I struggled with bullying and harassment, and bullying was not a big issue so I did not get much support regarding that.
Once I reached the age of 11 and going into secondary school, I was bullied mostly verbally by other people and I was not supported enough by the school counsellor because of my disability and my walking patterns were affected. This disadvantaged me in a lot of activities growing up such as running, playing football and basketball. This has also affected me making friends as well as children did not have much knowledge about my disability and so it was so hard to make friends growing up. I struggled with bullying and harassment, and bullying was not a big issue so I did not get much support regarding that.
My cancer diagnosis – endometrial cancer
The type of cancer I was diagnosed with was a rare kind of reproductive cancer for a young individual. I was only 17 years old and was in the process of applying for universities in college for Business Management. I just came back from a summer school in Oxford and I was called into the doctor’s office after having to go through medical problems with my reproductive system, I was originally diagnosed with hyperplasia, which is a condition where abnormal endometrial lining cells are overgrown and can cause internal bleeding over time if not treated and have a 50% chance of developing cancer within the uterus, which I did.
It was tough three-month battling cancer and I was prescribed chemotherapy drug. I did not go through the initial chemotherapy treatment many cancer patients go through but however, I faced many different symptoms such as hair loss, nausea, and fatigue. I eventually made the ultimate decision to remove the uterus, preventing me to be fertile and grow a family, at the age of 17 years old and once I had that removed, I was cancer-free. I am a cancer survivor 2 years later.
Where I am now – spreading awareness about health and wellbeing within disabled people
I am in a happy place; I am doing the things that I love and spreading awareness and be conscious about the disabled community as this is an issue that many disabled people have faced throughout the years with prejudice and discrimination with sports, and different physical activities. There are also people with different medical conditions, and having gone through some in the past, I want to also spread awareness about different medical conditions that affect a lot of individuals today. This is why I founded Movement because a community is really needed to be able to talk about this ongoing issue of disability discrimination.
My advice for other disabled people and people with medical conditions who may feel like that the discrimination and/or prejudice that we face today is that people are only discriminating you because they are jealous or inspired by you and they do not showcase that towards yourself and that be resilient and get through life despite all the ups and downs. This is so important because if you give up, the good things do not come. I would have never thought that I would be running an amazing organisation and doing the things that I love to do while being a person who suffers from left-sided hemiplegic cerebral palsy.