Olivia

'I Forget I'm In A Wheelchair When I'm At King Power Stadium'

Leicester City Season Ticket Holder Olivia Fitzgerald-Thompson shares her story and experiences in a football setting with us as part of the Club’s support for Level Playing Field’s Weeks of Action.

- Olivia discusses her story during Level Playing Field’s Weeks of Action
- She has lived with cerebral palsy since birth and lost sight in her left eye two years ago
- The Foxes fan is a member of the Club’s Disability Support Association 

Olivia, 34, has lived with cerebral palsy since birth, a lifelong condition that affects movement and co-ordination. She also lost vision in her left eye two years ago.

A member of the Football Club’s Disability Support Association, Olivia has been a fan of the Foxes from an early age and has been a Season Ticket Holder at King Power Stadium for the past five seasons.

The Weeks of Action run from 27 February – 14 March and aim to highlight the importance of good accessibility for disabled sports fans, while celebrating the work of clubs throughout the country.

Olivia said: “I love football. I’ve been supporting Leicester City for a long time, and when I go to games, I find it therapeutic because it helps me with my problems and issues, and I feel like I can just forget everything for 90 minutes.

“I love the atmosphere and the fans singing and chanting, and it really means a lot to me that I can be a part of that.” 

I used to watch the game pitch side, but I’m now up on the higher tier due to my vision because looking down at the game is a lot better and easier for me. I have been cared for above and beyond by the staff at Leicester City and the stadium is really disability-friendly.

Olivia

Discussing some of the challenges she faces in her daily life, Olivia says times can be hard, but she tries to remain positive.

“I was born premature and because of that a blood vessel burst in my brain. They thought I wasn’t going to make it, but I managed to get through and I’m just thankful for every day. 

“Living with cerebral palsy is a challenge and it can be extremely difficult. I face different challenges to other people, for example tasks that may seem simple to others can be hard for me.

“To add to that, I became blind in my left eye two years ago, and to be honest I’m still trying to get my head around it because it’s very difficult to accept.

“I just woke up one morning and I couldn’t see out of my left eye. All I could see was black and it was just horrendous. I can still see black now, there is nothing going through to my left eye. 

“It’s to do with me having seizures and things like that building up, so that’s why I’ve lost my vision. I’ve just got to pick myself up every day though and get on with it.”

Olivia feels grateful for the support she’s received from the Club and believes King Power Stadium is a welcoming place for disabled fans.  

“I used to watch the game pitch side, but I’m now up on the higher tier due to my vision because looking down at the game is a lot better and easier for me. 

“I have been cared for above and beyond by the staff at Leicester City and the stadium is really disability-friendly. 

I still feel a part of Leicester City, even though we’re in lockdown. Receiving phone calls and emails has been great, and I still get lots of information from the Club which I’m extremely grateful for.

Olivia

“I don’t know if other disabled fans feel like this, but when I’m at the stadium I forget I’m in a wheelchair because we’re all in the ground together and it feels like one. It’s a magical feeling.”

The Club have reached out to its disabled supporters during the coronavirus lockdown, something Olivia is appreciative of.

“It’s obviously been difficult not attending games this past year, but the staff have still been in contact with me and supported me in different ways. 

“I still feel a part of Leicester City, even though we’re in lockdown. Receiving phone calls and emails has been great, and I still get lots of information from the Club which I’m extremely grateful for. 

“I’ll say it again, but I can’t thank the Club enough for the work they do with disabled supporters. 

“I do not feel like I am in a wheelchair when I’m at the stadium, I feel so welcomed and nothing is any trouble whatsoever.”

Please click HERE for more information about the work the Football Club does to help supporters with disabilities.

To further details about Weeks of Action, please click HERE.

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