Charlie Beswick, Author of ‘Our Altered Life’ and a Professional Speaker
Creating unforgettable experiences with powerful keynote speeches
I was 26 and training to become a primary school teacher when I gave birth to my twin boys, Oliver and Harry. They were delivered prematurely and I was stunned to discover that Harry had been diagnosed with a rare craniofacial condition called Goldenhar Syndrome. For him, this means he was born with a short, underdeveloped jaw and without an eye, eye socket, ear and nostril; on his third birthday, he was also diagnosed with global learning delay and autism.
In 2009, I left my husband and became a single parent. Although I quickly learned to juggle the demands of full-time teaching and raising two boys – one of which had complex medical needs – everyday living was taking its toll. In 2014 I had a suspected mini stroke, but it transpired to be extremely high blood pressure; this health scare was the wake-up call I needed to choose a different life for me and my sons.
I quit teaching and joined a network marketing company – enjoying great success. The professional set-up afforded me some much-needed flexibility, which I took full advantage of to continue to prioritise the twins and also complete a project I’d been working on for some years: the story of my own personal journey and all the highs and lows I’d experienced. I self-published ‘Our Altered Life’ in 2017 and it went on to become an Amazon best-seller! I’m immensely proud it has been so popular because I always wanted my story to connect with an audience… to show them that challenges can always be overcome when there’s love and hope.
Last year I founded the More Than A Face charity, which is dedicated to educating schoolchildren about facial disfigurement, and I also keep myself busy these days as a runner of author workshops; blogger; part-time high school teacher; and a professional speaker, where I share all aspects of who I am with honesty, humour and passion. Above all else, I remain a fiercely proud mother.
My advice to anyone in a similar situation? Think creatively; don’t see it as a block. Be patient with your goals, never neglect yourself and remember that your USP is YOU, so embrace yourself with total faith.