Digit by digit, key by key
In 2011 while viewing buy-to-let properties Patrick was waiting for the estate agent to arrive. Puzzled, seeing a disabled man standing with crutches, the agent asked whether Patrick was OK walking up the stairs as there was quite a lot of them. Patrick replied as quick as a flash, “Yes I’ll be fine, I eat stairs for breakfast.”
The humour in this disguises the fact that Patrick has had Cerebral Palsy since a four minute air blockage at his birth starved him of the oxygen needed for a normal delivery. It has meant tackling life on his terms for over 40 years and as an obstinate, determined, visionary man, Patrick has refused to allow this disability get in his way.
This may be the bravest book ever written. Why? Firstly, because in physical terms it took Patrick the best part of two years laboriously typing 700 words a day with his left index finger. Secondly, the subject matter is raw, honest and occasionally self-deprecating. His account of a visit to an unfeeling, heartless prostitute, his account of how an equally heartless employer made him purchase his own desk and computer screen; his account of how he was bullied and abused as a child at a special boarding school. Thirdly, real people close to Patrick are featured in the book, sometimes painfully.
Brave because he sees his Cerebral Palsy as a gift – inspiring people and giving them the aspiration to do something equally remarkable. To show them that with enough self-belief and determination they can do anything they want.
He has spent his 41 years refusing to accept second best and above all refusing to be categorised as ‘disabled’. The worst thing (or best?) you can say to Patrick is don’t do something. It will mean that he is almost certain to do it. He was born in the south of England in 1973 to Belgian father and English mother. He has a sister and large extended family of devoted friends. He insisted from an early stage on being treated like everyone else and this led to an early career in IT and computer programming with a household name in telecommunications and a parallel career in commercial radio where he worked for three radio stations as a producer. This would be achievement enough, but Patrick was (and still is) determined to do more.
This led him in 2011 to leave the large corporation and set out on his own in property investment, pursuing an ambition to make £1 million. He started writing a blog at around the same time and this gave him the idea to write Stairs for Breakfast.
By networking in the property investment Patrick found his purpose in life: To help and inspire people – and to reach his full potential.
Cerebral Palsy is a condition that makes dealing with the physical demands of life very difficult but does not impair in any way the normal functions of the brain. Stairs for Breakfast is the first half of Patrick’s autobiography and it could have been a mawkish, self-pitying book but instead its real triumph lies in the upbeat, humorous narrative approach that entertains as much as it inspires. His other gift is a photographic memory that allows him to recount incidents from three decades ago as if it were yesterday.
Patrick was recently asked to take part in a TV documentary on inner peace. After being filmed Patrick said “This is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I want my journey and my book to make a difference in the world”.
The book is a search for self-awareness, achievement, acceptance and love. Patrick has become by default a very good, inspirational public speaker. His ability to engage the reader and the listener is quickly apparent. Not many books set out to change perceptions and succeed in doing so. This is one of them that does.
What the critics have said:
“When someone tells me they can’t do something I tell them Patrick’s story and share his ability to overcome whatever is put in front of him. He is an inspiration.”
Glenn Armstrong www.glennarmstrong.com
“This book is a must for anyone. It’s honest, funny and inspirational. It humbles me just thinking about the effort it must have taken.”
Paul Ribbons www.paulribbons.com
“An enormous achievement. Do yourself a favour. Add it to your reading wish list – and those of your friends.”
Roy Stannard www.roystannard.wordpress.com
Stairs for Breakfast is on Amazon now for £15.99. Patrick is available to deliver inspirational talks on overcoming adversity and his journey to success.
For more information please contact: Patrick Souiljaert
http://stairsforbreakfast.com / 01273 465519 / 07710 021454 / firstname.lastname@example.org