Joseph Hadfield lived with his parents in York until he was 16. Although he was born with a speech impediment and a weak heart, Joseph has never allowed these difficulties to get in the way of enjoying his life.
Athletics and football were among his favourite activities as a young person growing up in Yorkshire. Joseph enjoyed everything from an informal kick about with his dad and his brother in the park to more serious competitive sporting events. He is a life-long avid sports lover and enjoys going to watch Leeds United with his dad, as well as being an ardent supporter of the York Knights rugby team. He has always excelled at any of the sports he has played. When Joseph attended college in Grimsby at 16, he joined their football squad and won many trophies, medals and awards. “I am very proud of these and they take pride of place on my windowsill!” says Joseph.
In 2005 he was diagnosed with Lymphoma;fortunately, after a year of chemotherapy treatment Joseph has recovered.
Joseph now lives in York with enabling support from ubu.
Part of his transition into supported independent living, Joesph expressed his desire to continue to develop his sports. He had started playing rugby when he moved back to York from college in Grimsby. “It’s always a sport I have been interested in and this seemed the perfect opportunity to get involved and take an active part”. With support from his ubu enablers, he found a local team in York to train with and goes to training sessions twice a week. “They love having me there, and I enjoy being part of the team very much”.
Over the last few years, Joseph took his passion and talent for rugby to the international stage, taking part in Special Olympics events. In 2010 at the European Special Olympics he won bronze and a silver medal, followed in 2013 at the National Special Olympics Joseph was awarded with silver and gold medals. At last year’s National event Joseph succeeded in winning bronze, silver and gold medals, which is a fantastic accomplishment. “I find it amazing that I’ve been able to achieve so much doing the things I love and I can’t wait to try and do even better!”
Joseph not only attends rugby training sessions but also athletics training three times a week on alternate weekday nights. He attends many of these regular events on his own but often he is accompanied by a ubu enabler especially for the evening sessions. Joseph really appreciates the support and encouragement he receives from the ubu enablers who work with him.
Joseph looks forward to going to Elland Road football stadium to watch the home games of Leeds United. He tries to get to at least one home game each month and is assisted to make the trip and enjoy the event safely with support from a ubu enabler. Joseph also enjoys being encouraged and supported by enablers from ubu when he is playing rugby on a weekend or for a bit of exercise and a football kick around in the gardens of his home or at the local park.
Joseph’s experience has motivated many of his friends to find their own enjoyment of sports and the active life. They have been so impressed by what he has achieved that they wanted joined up with local athletics clubs, or sports teams. “It's really nice knowing what I do for fun can inspire others people to get fit and healthy in their lives”.
ubu is proud to be working with such a talented and wonderful person as Joseph. He is an ambassador for sport and inclusion, and a true role model for anyone who dreams of Olympic gold.