Paddy Doyle was one of the first people I contacted when I launched my blog and began a life of Dystonia activism. A well-known disability activist in Ireland who also battles Dystonia, Paddy seemed the perfect place to head for advice and logical choice of mentor. Though it took months for him to post a link to my blog on his website, we became fast friends. He even has a superhero power: he makes me laugh!
Paddy and I share generalized Dystonia down to the DYT1 gene, only his is much more severe and, as he likes to say, of the DNRTA ilk: Dystonia Not Responding To Anything! Paddy was everything I longed to embody as I miraculously transformed into my self-anointed role of muse: forthright and unapologetic about his Dystonia, steadfast in his commitment to his causes, firm in his opinions. He exhibited an utter lack of dis*ease with Dystonia to which I had long aspired, even airing a brutally honest video chronicling the realities of his condition, realities I had long sought to hide.
His book, The God Squad, documents his journey through Church and State institutional care since the tender age of 4, when he lost both of his parents in a span of weeks and was cruelly separated from his younger sister. After his Dystonia appeared, the Church abandoned him to the medical establishment, not a soul protecting his well-being, resulting in a series of brain surgeries that served to worsen his condition and can only be viewed as experimental procedures and heinous crimes against a child. With no time for recriminations, Paddy has dedicated his life to advocating on behalf of children and the disabled. I can’t help but marvel at his spirit and courage, not to mention the seemingly limitless depths of his soul. Check out my review of his memorable read.
Paddy reassures my tremulous inner child that shame has no place in the view we cultivate of ourselves and we must ever strive to live our lives in alignment with our beliefs. The God Squad is a potent wake up call that we all bear responsibility to do more than complain about the travesties that victimize the weakest members of society.
You can visit Paddy’s website at: http://www.paddydoyle.com.
Watch Paddy’s video for an up close and personal experience with Dystonia. Vestibular folks beware, this may rock your world!