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Aisling Gill-Dougherty

Aisling Gill-Dougherty

Fight to Live, Live to Fight: This is My Story.

Aisling is a second-year student at The University of Reading, studying politics and international relations. Her twenty-two years of living with Cerebral Palsy has given her a unique insight into the education system in the UK and the challenges that disabled people face in the twenty-first century.

Having completed compulsory education, Aisling reflects on her time negotiating a school system that does not accommodate high achievers who happen to be disabled and facing the challenges of being overlooked for activities and extra curricula’s because of preconceptions of capabilities. Aisling is committed to doing whatever is necessary to help and support young disabled people and their families.

Outside of school, Aisling's determination and open-mindedness has led to many unique (and often humorous) adventures abroad. Travelling around the world has presented its own set of obstacles such as taking a night-train across India or having the charger of an electric wheel-chair stolen in Barbados; alongside dealing the preconceptions and social stigmas associated with being a wheel-chair user.

Now at university, Aisling is dealing with a brand-new set of challenges that many young many people face including living away from home for the first time: new flat mates, societies, socials, lecturers, the hangovers, the crazy deadlines, figuring out how to cook chicken without poisoning herself or burning the halls down, and the bane that is the nine o'clock lecture. On top of this she also has to juggle her many employees who form a team to enable her to access everything that university has to offer.

Testimonials from Teachers

"Aisling is an incredible woman with an abundance of ambition and drive. She has an inspired approach to life and gives her all to everything she does. Her attitude towards life is extremely positive and optimistic, and she's a shining example of living life to the fullest no matter what challenges you."

– Tommy Gentleman, CEO of Reasons Fitness & Creator of The Super Self Summit

"I worked with Aisling as part of Touch Network, whereby Aisling kindly shared her story of moving forward with an audience of around 100 people. Aisling was a delight to work with - very focused and very dedicated to getting the right message across. On the actual evening when Aisling told her story, she inspired many people and most certainly increased understanding of living with disability, but more so inspired our audience of what is possible with the right focus, determination, spirit and of course, a sense of humour. Many of our audience were touched and inspired by Aisling's talk. I can't really think of anyone better suited to be a role model - I, personally, am full of admiration for Aisling!"

– Debs Carter, Founder and Director of Touch Network

"I taught Aisling in a political economy module focused on inequality. Part of the assessment was to provide a power point presentation and Aisling enthusiastically provided an engaging presentation, focusing in part on the nuances surrounding inequalities she has experienced. She was articulate and thought provoking, demonstrating a thorough grasp of the material and an ability to articulate that material clearly. Aisling has continued to provide good work, counterbalancing her personal trials and tribulations with a friendly face and a strong work ethic. I am sincerely impressed by her personal tenacity, always accompanied by an approachable demeanour. I hope to have the opportunity to teach Aisling again as she progresses through her degree."

– Yanos Soubieski, PhD Researcher in Politics and Sessional Lecturer, University of Reading

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