James Sutliff

2017 WINNER: 


7 years ago James’ life took a sudden, unexpected change. After a normal night out on the town with friends, James returned home and woke up the next day feeling slightly unwell. Putting this down to a hangover, James took a small nap only to wake up with severely distorted and slurred speech. Overtime the problem worsened and numerous tests could not point to a cause. Six years on there is still no treatment plan, however, in 2012 James was diagnosed with a neurological dysfunction disorder, known as Dystonia. The problem directed to his hands causing a lack of mobility and forcing James to leave his job as a plumber. Fitness became his lifeline and James got into amazing shape and is now a successful personal trainer and disability coach. Gaining an impressive social media following, this remarkable Bodybuilder uses his platform to highlight his hidden disability.

What were your thoughts on the other shortlisted nominees within your category?

I found everyone to have very inspiring stories. The work they put in, deserved to be recognised. In my eyes, everyone was a winner in the category.

What were your thoughts after winning The Positive Role Model Award for Disability?

I was in complete shock, but of course I was so happy. I honestly thought, I had no chance. Its such an amazing feeling, getting the recognition for a rare neurological condition. Also the work I do coaching disability clients, through fitness.

What reaction have you received from supporters/fellow employees since winning the award?

I have a big fan base over social media. So the reaction over all my social media links has been big, supportive, and very overwhelming. I’m being interviewed by the BBC with my wife about winning the award.

Now that you have won a National Diversity Award, what are you going to go from here? What are your next steps?

To keep doing what I’m doing and raising as much awareness for Dystonia. Open my own gym for people with disabilities. Become a worldwide motivational speaker. To hopefully publish my own book on my story to help inspire others, going through tough times.

In your own words, how do you feel the work you are carrying out is making a difference?

I can see I’m making a difference to peoples lives, I receive so many messages weekly, telling me so. From people all around the world in a similar position as myself. It’s just not from people who have Dystonia, but from people who have all different types of disabilities.

Why do you think it is important to highlight Diversity, Equality and Inclusion?

Because the world is made up of so many different people. The more diversity, equality and inclusion is shouted about. The more it is accepted in today’s society.

Who or What is your inspiration?

People who are going through difficult times with their disability. But they get on with their lives, not letting it stop them, from reaching their goals and dreams.

What were your thoughts on The National Diversity Awards Ceremony? Did you enjoy your evening?

I think the whole event is amazing. I found it all very overwhelming, in a good way. So many inspirational individuals under one roof. One of my best evening in my entire life. I would love to be involved again in the awards in the near future.


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