Interviewing My Role Model: Sam Cleasby

Sam Cleasby is a radio presenter on ‘Nowt So Strange As Folk’ for BBC Sheffield, and a Senior Community Officer for Scope’s Online Community. Sam is diagnosed with IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) and UC (Ulcerative Colitis) and shares her story of living life with a stoma on her amazing blog, So Bad Ass! If you haven’t checked it out already, I highly recommend you to as Sam is honest, doesn’t hold anything back and is incredibly down to earth!

I first met Sam, on Scope’s online community, earlier this year. I admire Sam for her determination and perseverance trying to make the best out of life whilst battling against, the term that is often used by majority of our society, an invisible illness. Her passion towards achieving equality and fairness in our society is extremely contagious! If the rest of our population had the same positive attitude, towards equality, then the world would be a better place.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Sam, and getting to know het quirks! Hope you enjoy reading Sam’s answers as much as I do!

What was the biggest realisation you have had about yourself?

“That I am stronger than I thought I was. I used to think ‘how do people cope with that’ and then when I was in the midst of multiple surgeries and years of pain and treatment, I realised that you have no option but to take one day at a time. I grew up feeling weak and disempowered but going through my illness has actually taught me I am tougher than I thought. I realised I am so badass!”

What inspires you? And why?

“I am inspired by kindness; we live in a world that can sometimes feel scary and rubbish but those glimpses of kindness remind me of how good people are.  Kindness is the most important thing in life and it’s something I try to bring to the world every day.”

What values are most important to you? 

“Family, friends, loyalty, love and kindness”

What is the one thing that you think others should do at least once in their lives? 

“Travel – I love traveling and really think that it broadens the mind.  It’s not all about going around the world though, you can travel in your own country and even in your own city – take the time to be a tourist and learn about a new place.

What makes a good life? 

“Good friends – I am so lucky to have the most amazing friends around me. If you have good friends and kindness in your life then you won’t go far wrong.

You have had numerous hairstyles and colours, which one has been your favourite?  And what colour/style are you hoping to try out next?

“Oh blimey! I really have had a lot! I loved how I had it at my wedding renewal, it was long and bright pink.  I do like it long but I after all surgeries my skin and hair are really affected, my hair gets thin and falls out, it really gets into a bad condition and so that’s why I decided to shave it all off this year.  I would like to grow it again in the hope that I’ll have no more operations!

Do you have any celebrity crushes? 

“Chris Pratt – both in his chunkier Parks and Rec days and his Guardians of the Galaxy bod!”

What is something you like to do the old-fashioned way? 

“Im quite old fashioned in a lot of ways, I love baking, knitting, crafting and working in my allotment.  Last year I learnt how to carve spoons! I enjoy the simple things in life.”

Why did you decide to do the work you are doing now? 

“I have always loved writing and connecting with people and so when I saw the opportunity with Scope it felt perfect for me.  The BBC got in touch asking me to audition for them and it’s only since starting with them that I realised that this is my calling!”

Any crazy antics at work? 

“I am lucky to love my work – I work for Scope as a community officer and get to work with disabled people every day, hearing their stories is an absolute privilege.  I also work for the BBC presenting a show on BBC Radio Sheffield every week and I LOVE this so much, it is quite new, I have only been doing this for a few months but it is amazing.”

What has been the best and worst advice you have ever received? 

“Best advice was just after I had my first child, my sister in law told me that all I needed to do was feed him, clean him and love him more than anything, everything else was just extras.”

“Worst advice was a nurse who told me after I had my ileostomy surgery that I would never eat a curry again! I was devastated and proved her wrong!!”

Would things get better or worse if people focused on what was going well rather than what’s going wrong?

“Positivity is important, we all need to look for the silver linings, to appreciate what we have.  But I think we also need to accept the things that aren’t so great.  It is important to talk about the tough things as much as the good things.”

If you could start a country from scratch, what would it be like?

“Equality, Diversity and Kindness would be the main things.  I would encourage communal living, care of the environment and respect of nature. I’d want the most vulnerable in the society to be the most protected and would celebrate kindness over anything else.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

“My three children, they are the most amazing, cool, funny, kind, sensitive, wonderful humans.  I am immensely proud of them and how they have dealt with having a mum who has a chronic illness.  They are my world.”

What are you most looking forward to in 2019? 

“2019 is a big year for us as a family, my eldest son will be going off to University and my middle child is going to Australia for a couple of months to spend time with my sister.  It will be the first time that our family will be separated in different places and I know as a mum this will be really tough for me.  But I will also be really proud of them, I know I’ve done a good job as a mum if they can spread their wings and move forward without me right beside them.

It was really enlightening to interview Sam, and I would just like to say q massive thank you to Sam for answering these questions and being So Bad Ass!

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