January 2021 summary: Not the start of the year I had in mind

Well, what can I say? January 2021 was not the start of the year I had in mind. Yes, I knew we’d be back in lockdown and my workload would kick-start back with a bang, which I’m fine with. What I wasn’t expecting was another personal health scare and the sad passing of one of my amazing friends:

Disability Horizons

Let’s begin with a roundup of my professional updates. I’ve basically picked up my Disability Horizons work from where I left it before Christmas.

I did a mammoth chase up of interviewees, plus arranged a few additional ones. So far, I’ve published two interviews – actor with Down’s Syndrome Sam Barnard and Australian blind filmmaker known as gough.

I also published a couple of news stories about two documentaries about disability on BBC – Silenced: The Hidden Story of Disabled Britain and Katie Price: Harvey & Me – which is part of the broadcasting company’s goal to boost disability representation across its channels.

Back in December, I published a featured article titled, Covid-19 vaccines: how they work and who is eligible if you have a disability or chronic illness, which gives you all the latest information on the Covid-19 vaccines. Throughut January I have been updating it and it has reached more than 5000 views in over a month.

In addition, we’ve had a couple of team meetings to plan future content for 2021. I’ve been tasked with researching ideas for more blog posts on the Disability Horizons Shop, the Paralympic Games in Tokyo this summer and Disability Horizons’ 10th birthday in April – stay tuned to find out more.

All my Disability Horizons content is now available to view in one place on the Emma Purcell Author’s page. This link can also be accessed on the “Disability Horizons” button on the menu page on the left of this site.

My featured content, product articles and sponsored posts for Disability Horizons can be viewed in my Journo Portfolio.

To read my latest news stories, interviews and featured articles on a regular basis, as well as browse other content from the rest of the amazing DH team, subscribe to the Disability Horizons newsletter.


Back in November, I created a video that gives tips on how to make video calls accessible to blind and visually impaired people.

This month, it was published on AccessAble’s blog, social media and YouTube channel. I also shared a copy on here, which is titled – AccessAble’s Guide to Blind Friendly Video Calls.

Furthermore, I’ve been helping the AccessAble team with creating a survival guide during lockdown, in which I share my thoughts and feelings on the situation, plus skills I’ve learnt and tips on how to cope while isolating. This blog post should hopefully be published next month.

John Schofield Trust mentoring scheme

At the end of last year, I announced that I had been accepted onto the John Schofield Trust journalism mentoring scheme.

In January 2021, I had my first mentoring session with my mentor, Bernadette Kitterick, who is a newsgathering producer for BBC News. I felt our first session went well, we had plenty to talk about and I’m look forward to working with her over the coming months.

On Thursday 28th January, we also had a virtual get together to meet all the new mentees and mentors and say farewell to the participants of 2020.

In addition, I got a mention in the latest  John Schofield Trust e-newsletter for giving a proportion of the blog donations raised in 2020 to the charity. Thank you again to everyone who donated throughout the year.


Now for the personal dramas – a couple of weeks ago my left leg became rather swollen and painful. My suspicion was a blood clot, which happened in the same limb in 2016. I sent a photo to my GP and spent all day waiting for a phone call.

Eventually at 6pm on the Friday, the doctor rang and agreed it could be another blood clot and he would prescribe me blood thinners. Because it was the evening, my local pharmacy was closed so he would have to send it to another pharmacy in town.

I sent my carer to go collect it for me but apparently it still wouldn’t be available until morning. So, my carer went back the next day and the pharmacy had no record of the prescription. I suggested she try my usual pharmacy and it was there all along.

The following Tuesday, I had to go to Basingstoke Hospital for an ultrasound scan to check for the blood clot. Luckily it came back clear but I think that is just because I took the medication all weekend and so the symptoms had gone by then.

I’m still getting frequent pain in my legs but I think that is a combination of the cold weather and lack of physio.

Saying goodbye to Lucy Hale

As many of you may have already seen on my blog and/or on social media, I had to say goodbye to one of my amazing friends, Lucy Hale, who sadly passed away on 11th January.

She did have complex health conditions, which meant in a way, we kind of knew this day would come, but it was still a shock to everyone who knew her.

Almost three weeks on, and its still not sunk in. I’ve never faced this grieving process before, and I don’t know how to react. Inside I think about her constantly, remember the good times at school but also feel guilt that we lost two years of contact that we’ll never get back. But from the outside I’m still managing to carry on with life, which I know Lucy would’ve wanted.

I did manage to re-create a playlist that Lucy original made on a CD for my 21st birthday. It’s a collection of bands and artists we saw live together at Reading Festival 2012 and 2014.

I put the playlist together on my Amazon Echo and named it “Lucy’s Festival”. But I also added some more songs from bands and artists we saw at Glastonbury 2015.

In addition, I’ve been running a fundraiser on Facebook in memory of Lucy. The money is going to Attitude Is Everything, a charity that supports musicians and music lovers with disabilities access live music. If you could give some money, I’d really appreciate it.

To donate, visit Emma’s fundraiser in memory of Lucy Hale for Attitude is Everything fundraiser page on Facebook. (Fundraiser ends 14th February 2021)


Being a January baby, most of my birthdays are low key due to bad weather and my friends having not much money. So, this lockdown birthday was not much different to be honest.

I got birthday money from my family, a few nice gifts from friends, a Zoom chat with my mates and a Frango’s takeaway for dinner.


My New Year’s resolution to not read Harry Potter for a whole year is in full swing. So far, I’ve read Because Of You by Dawn French, which is about a mother who has a miscarriage and takes another new born baby to raise as her own.

Then I read Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse by comedian David Mitchell, in which he shares a collection of published pieces he wrote as a columnist in newspapers, which was a rather funny book.

I then had a look through my Audible library to see how many books I still have unread and I was surprised to find books I still haven’t read that I bought in 2011 when I first used the audiobook service.

Therefore, I’ve decided to work my way backwards and read the books I first bought and work my way up. Currently, I’m reading a fantasy fiction series called Septimus Heap, which is also in a wizarding world full of drama and adventure. The first book is called Magyk and there are eight books in total.


January 2021 has brought back some of my favourite shows including Casualty, Holby City, Would I Lie To You, Not Going Out and Staged.

The only downside with Staged is I’ve not been able to binge watch it because not all episodes have audio description available straight away. Therefore, I’ve only reached episode 4 and waiting for AD on the rest. I’m hoping to finish the series by the end of this week.

Audio Description petition

My campaign for audio description has continued throughout January 2021 and the petition has now gained an outstanding 226 more signatures, making the total 2565 signatures, which is incredible!

But I’m eager to reach thousands more. The more signatures we get, the more likely changes could be made within the TV & films industries. Please, please, PLEASE continue to sign & share my petition!

Guest Bloggers Wanted

I’m still eager to collaborate with even more bloggers in 2021. So, if you’re a lifestyle, disability and/or music blogger, send me your blog stories. Plus let me know if you’d like me to feature on your blog as a guest blogger.

I’m flexible with any type of blog posts; life story, disability awareness, music event, musician promotion – basically anything to do with life, disability or music!

In addition, I have a guest blog series called “RFD Question Time with…” where I interview disabled people and/or bloggers. If you’d like to be interviewed in this series, please also contact me.

Blog post roundup

In case you missed any of my blog posts this month, here is a roundup of them:

  1. My 2020 in review (published 31/12/2020)
  2. Music Interview: Fatality
  3. Lucy Hale: A Tribute
  4. RFD Question Time with Caz at Invisibly Me
  5. Music Interview: Chaoseum

5 favourite blog posts

 Here are my 5 favourite blog posts I’ve read this month: 

  1. Chronic Illness And Self-Employment – An Honest Reflection On My First Year at Life of Pippa
  2. Lockdown – Glass Half-Full OR Half-Empty? at The Life Of Sophie
  3. Accessibility and disability: Changes I’d like to see in 2021 and beyond at Life of a Blind Girl
  4. Wheelie interesting at Brains on Wheels
  5. When Nystagmus Makes Me Sad at Amanda Gene

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Published by Rock For Disability

This blog follows my life as a disabled person, reports disability news, share music reviews, give advice pieces, shows multimedia content plus much more!

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