There’s not much office worker Emma Muldoon will not try – although she does draw the line at sky diving.
For the last year-and-a-half the 30-year-old Grangemouth woman has been writing about her adventures in an online blog.
Nothing special there you may think.
Emma does many things we all do and take for granted.
What’s remarkable is the former Beancross Primary School pupil is leading this life, going to these gigs, travelling to these locations, while confined to a wheelchair with Limp Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (LGMD). And the blog she writes is far from being the self-indulgent fluff which many would-be Internet scribes come away with.
Entitled Simply Emma, it gives her a chance to vent frustrations on lack of disabled access and praise those who have gone out of their way to help her. The blog is also becoming something of an inspiration to other people with disabilities.
Emma said: “I just went accessible ski-ing in Glasgow and it was amazing. I never thought I would be able to do anything like that and I’ve been getting a lot of interest from people about the article I wrote on it.
“That’s one of the reasons I do the blog. I hope people read about the things I’ve been doing and it inspires them to go travelling or go see their favourite bands.
“I would never have thought I would enjoy writing, but it’s great seeing people comment on your article after you put it out there.”
And she’s not just an inspiration and guiding light online.
A woman who met Emma at an airport told her she had a friend with multiple sclerosis and wanted a bit of advice on air travel. The woman could not have known she had happened upon the perfect person to answer her questions.
“I’m now what’s known as ‘Trailblazer’ for Muscular Dystrophy UK – the charity promotes my blog and I do some writing for them. I’ve also written articles for disability magazines You Can Too and Possibility.”
Emma was diagnosed with LGMD when she was seven.
She said: “My older sister Claire also has muscular dystrophy – it’s a genetic thing – and my parents noticed things weren’t quite right with me. The doctors actually thought I was just copying my sister, but a blood test finally confirmed I had muscular dystrophy.
“I remember demanding I start karate lessons and loved it, but had to stop when it got too much for me. I think even at such a young age I didn’t want to let my disability hold me back.”
Emma began using a wheelchair in her first year at Grangemouth High School.
“It’s a gradual thing – it doesn’t just happen overnight. I’m used to it. My disability has made me more determined.”
Always outgoing, Emma continued to live life to the full.
Now with partner of nine years Allan McEnroe (30) by her side, she has visited dream destinations in Europe and the USA and seen some top bands.
She said: “The best experience we’ve had was the Manchester Academy. The steward took time to explain everything to us, pointing out the disabled toilets and said if we had any issues we knew we could come to them for help.”
That night is the yardstick Emma and Allan now use to gauge music venues.
Unfortunately not every premises measures up.
Allan said: “We do get quite anxious when we go to gigs. Even places we have been before, you never know how its going to go because the member of staff who was helpful before might not be there on that night.”
The couple’s worst experience happened at a well-known music venue in Glasgow.
Allan said: “The place was absolutely packed and the steward we had to deal with just had a really bad attitude.”
The night was such a nightmare the couple admitted they have avoided going back to the venue since – even when one of their favourite artists was playing there.
“We went all the way down to Manchester rather than go back there,” said Allan.
There are good, built for purpose, concert halls out there like the SECC Hydro but those are few and far between.
Emma said: “I would say it’s getting better, but there are still issues. It’s mainly about staff not being aware of disability issues and there are still a lot of venues that don’t have disabled access at all.”
Emma’s articles are helping to highlight those issues and she plans to continue to use Simply Emma to speak out about disability.
She said: “I will definitely keep doing the blog and would love it if I could write it as a full-time job.”
Visit www.simplyemma.co.uk to view the articles.