A while ago, I came across this video by fixperts.org. It touched me because it shows how important things can be that we might consider “little things” in our everyday life. The truth is: To some people they are not. Things like wearing earrings, looking your sparkling best, and being able to put your own earrings in your ears every morning might be something some of us take for granted—“little things”. But they mean the world to Denise Stephens in the UK, a young woman with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Fixperts is all about fixing stuff and solving everyday problems. It is a social project which brings together “FixPartners”, “Fixperts”, and “FixFilmmakers”. FixPartners are people with a challenge they would like to have fixed. In this case, that’s Denise, who has worn earrings ever since she was 16. Due to MS she is no longer able to put the backs on her earrings without help from others. She explains that MS affected her hands in a way that she has a numbness and weakness in her hands. It also affected her vision and she walks on crutches. Denise is a self-confident, independent woman who lives on her own and uses little tools to help her with everyday challenges like closing buttons on a blouse. But if she wants to wear earrings, she needs someone to assist her.
The Fixpert in this story is Florie Salnot. Fixperts are designers or makers who use their imagination, talents and skills to solve a problem. Florie, who wears cute pearl studs herself, asks Denise to demonstrate how she would put her earrings on by herself and to explain the challenges involved in more detail. She watches carefully while Denise shows that she is able to put a stud earring into her earlobe. But then Denise explains, “It’s this bit, putting the back on, I find that a complete nightmare.”
FixFilmmakers Peter Judson and Rachel Singer document Denise’s and Florie’s story—from their first meeting to Florie’s creation of a prototype instrument to a final solution that works well for Denise. The most powerful message is at the end of the video, at 3:23, when the closing credits go to black. We hear Denise’s voice saying, “I have not worn earrings, like, for ages. It means I can put my own earrings in.” Just by the tone of her voice you can tell that now being able again to put her own earrings in—thanks to Florie—means the world to Denise. What a great example of how little things like earrings can make a huge difference in our lives!
Fixperts have helped many people with their fixes—people with disabilities, elderly people and many others. For example, Fixperts Dan Jackson and Sophie Both created a sock horn for FixPartner Edna Day, who was not able to put on her socks by herself anymore. Imagination, a British company, was a Fixpert for FixPartner Milly, who wanted to be able to open bottles with her one healthy hand. Check out Fixperts’ website to find more FixFilms or to get your own Fixperts project started.
Header image: © Oliver Pacas/Unsplash; other images: © Fixperts