This month, we spoke to Steph Yates, founder of the Butterfly Princess SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) initiative, set up to offer vlog partnerships to organisations to raise awareness of disability on a range of subjects including cancer, sex and relationships, LGBTQ issues among others, and using her Vlog and educational interviews to promote these causes.
Q. Who is someone you admire, and why?
A. It is not a particular person but I admire anyone who is willing to go out there, work hard, and break down barriers and live life to the full.
Q. What’s a typical day like for you?
A. I work incredibly hard with my Butterfly SEND Initiative, attending Zoom or face-to-face meetings, emails, researching, updating my Facebook page and Instagram page. I will inform my followers on what’s coming up and encourage more people to work with me.
Q. Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
A. Public speaking. Some people are very nervous about public speaking, the job that I do, the hobby that I do, you can’t be shy, you have to really outgoing. One of the talents people don’t know about me is that I am very good storyteller. Physically I can’t write because of my cerebral palsy but because of the disability, I have a lot of characters in my mind. I love to get the characters out and tell everyone their stories, and how I have developed their characters.
Q. What is your fondest memory?
A. When I was nine years old, when I was a bridesmaid for mum’s best friend. They were originally from Greater Manchester and moved to the Isle of Man. We travelled to the Island in 2002 with my mum and that was one of my fondest memories.
Q. Flashback to when you were 10 years old. What do you want to be when you grow up?
A. What I am doing now! Some people wanted to be an astronaut or superhero, I never had that ambition. I had to be realistic, the experiences that I had with bullying when I was bullied horrendously and during my schooling; I have always wanted to inspire people by sharing my story, doing what I am doing today.
Q. Finish this sentence. On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me…
A. Reading a book, I love to read thrillers, listen to music, just relax really.
Q. What do you think are the best skills that you bring to any role you take on?
A. My public speaking again, I am very professional, very knowledgeable, influential, as well as inspiring.
Q. If you could be anywhere other than here, right this minute, where would you be? (Don’t overthink it!)
A. Probably on a cruise. Before Covid happened, I booked a cruise around the Greek islands and unfortunately because of Covid, we have had to move it three times now so hopefully this year we’ll get to go on it. So if I could be anywhere I would be on that cruise.
Q. Tell us your three pet dislikes.
A. Any one that underestimates me who does not really know me. Anyone that degrades me. Anyone that just sees my disability first and has not given me the opportunity to say what I am all about.
Q. What is your favourite word?
A. Tenacity. A word of never giving up no matter what knock backs you get in life. I think I am good example of that word, tenacity, putting it into practice because regardless of how many knock backs of what people say. Because I have never giving up on what I want to achieve.
Q. What do you regularly read or watch?
A. I am a big fan of thriller books. I read a lot of thrillers. John Grisham is one of my favourite authors. I like to watch documentaries because I like history, twentieth century history, so Henry VIII period, the Holocaust period of history, that’s where I get my knowledge from.
Q. What do you do for fun?
A. I do like swimming and I am very active swimmer. Because of my having mild cerebral palsy, if I could I would live in water because that is where I feel free, because that is where my muscles are the most relaxed, where I am like a mermaid. If I could be anything I would be a mermaid. The Disney film The Little Mermaid is one of my favourite films!
Q. What are some causes you care about?
A. Creating a better world for people with SEND and other disabilities; I care about raising awareness about cancers that’s why I joined the Answer Cancer movement. I care about LGBTQ issues and I am involved with LGBTQ networks, especially within the Stockport area. Although I am not a member of the LGBTQ community myself, I can relate to the discrimination and hardship that people have experienced.
Q. What would be your personal motto?
A. So I took this from my Butterfly Princess SEND Initiative, and it’s really personal to me and it sums me up to a T and that is: We delight in the pure beauty of the butterfly but rarely do we admit or truly appreciate the difficulties or the knock backs and the underestimation it has gone through to achieve its beauty.
Remember, Answer Cancer Champions come from all types of backgrounds and communities! To join, visit here.