My name is Chris Whitaker. Or Christopher when I’m in trouble!
I was born and grew up in Cheshire, arriving in the world in 1983 with cerebral palsy after a complex childbirth. Apparently, I was lucky to be here at all and have tried to make the most of life ever since!
Starting life at a special school at aged 2, I eventually went to a mainstream primary school at the age of 7. I was the first person in the school ever to move to mainstream, so it was all a bit of an interesting experiment! I returned for a brief spell when I was 11, following major surgery to help my walking.
The experiences I had during this process were a story in themselves. Even at such a young age, 12 months in hospital and learning to walk again taught me a lot about life, resilience and being grateful for what you had.
Fast forward a few years and I went on to study Law at Warwick university before a masters at Cambridge and a PhD in Criminology at The University of Sheffield. During that time I also had a season ticket for my beloved Sheffield Wednesday!
After university I then became involved in the world of disability sport, acting as an agent for a number of athletes in the run up to and following London 2012. It was fascinating to represent athletes during a ‘home’ games. Being fortunate to be involved in supporting them was a real privilege. I was also lucky enough to be asked to appear on BBC Radio 5 to talk about the Paralympics. I was also asked to appear on several programmes during Rio 2016.
I have worked in the third sector for a few years now and am also a charity trustee. Making a positive difference every day is what drives me and I get to see the impact the third sector makes. I have also been able to use my own lived experience as a disabled person to make an input into my working life, which is great.
I am also fortunate to have been able to continue my interest in disability sport via being part of a number of groups aiming to increase sporting opportunities for everyone.
I have worked as a self employed motivational speaker to share my experiences with others and made regular media appearances to talk about disability issues.
Outside of all of that I live with my lovely wife Fran in Cambridgeshire and am a keen follower of both football and cricket.