I am Gaynor Young. I was an actress.
On 9th December 1989 my life changed irrevocably!
I was understudy for the role of Guinevere in Camelot, being performed at the State Theatre in Pretoria. On the 9th December 1989, Kate Normington, the lead, fell ill. I was to take over at the afternoon and evening performances. I went on stage that afternoon never having had a dress rehearsal nor a technical rehearsal! But I knew that I would be amazing in the role. And indeed I was FAN-BLOODY-TASTIC!!! Then the scene before interval, disaster struck! In the dark, I must have turned the wrong way or missed my footing during a scene change, who knows, because I fell off the stage 18 metres down an unguarded lift shaft.
As a result of this accident, I am totally deaf, and have just 40% eyesight. I have extensive brain damage and am spastic down the whole of my right side.
I am however, ALIVE!
Four years after my accident, in April 1994, I opened in my one woman show ‘My Plunge to Fame’. I got rave reviews and travelled throughout South Africa playing at the Civic Theatre in Gauteng, the Natal Playhouse and the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town. I also performed in both Washington and London.
Ten years later, my second show Gaynor Rising opened at in Durban and then moved on to the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town.
In 2000 my autobiography My Plunge to Fame was published to widespread popularity. The South African playwright, Athol Fugard wrote, ‘If you have lately been doubting the capacity of the human spirit to overcome calamitous misfortune, I urge you to read Gaynor Young’s story. It will restore your faith’.
I now spend my time giving inspirational speeches to blue chip companies throughout South Africa, writing and looking after my children, Perdita, a beautiful wire haired Dachshund and Spencer, a grey Cockateil with a great sense of humour!
In 2007 I had a Cochlear Implant and on the 17th July I was ‘switched on’! I cannot describe to you the joy of once more being able to ‘hear’. The delight of being able to walk down a street and listen to the birds singing is something I never thought I would experience again.
Last May I had a second cochlear implant in my other ear, so I am now hearing in stereo. For the first time in 24 years I feel ‘complete’.
I have found that It is only when something has been taken away from one that one is aware of it’s true value.
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You might also like to visit my Gaynor Young website.