“I have had a stammer since the age of about four or five. Whilst I was not really aware of it when I was very young, it became more of an issue when I was in secondary school and really affected by anxiety and confidence.”
Nick Fischer, from Hoxton, is a “Stambassodar” for Action for Stammering Children’s Charity.
He is explaining how he came to work for the charity, and how he supports them.
Fischer said: “I was lucky enough to go on a speech therapy course in my second year of University which gave me the confidence to pursue a career in law.
“Based on my experience, I know how great that charity can be to young people and so am absolutely delighted to be able to raise money for such a great cause.”
Action for Stammering says it aims to ensure that every child and young person across the UK who stammers has access to effective services and support to help them meet the challenges they face.
The latest research suggests that up to 8% of children will stammer at some point, and approximately 1% continue to stammer into adulthood. In the UK that means that 1.5 million children will experience
stammering as they are growing up.
Stambassadors are a group of successful professionals who stammer themselves, and the charity organises “networking” events to help to inspire and support young people who stammer by sharing their stories and encouraging them to think big when they are considering their career choices.
Fischer, 31 from Hoxton signed up to the charity in July. He says he is familiar with the challenges a stammer can bring when entering the world of work, “so I am really keen to try and show that know that having a stammer should in no way hold them back from fulfilling their dreams.”
And Fischer is clear why he enjoys his role with the charity. He added: “I really like the opportunity the help young people realise that having a stammer should not hold them back from achieving whatever they want.
“When I was a young person going through the same thing I would definitely have benefited from meeting people who stammer who have professional careers.”
The charity Action for Stammering Children is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year, and as Ed Balls (the charity’s Vice President) appeared on the real Strictly Come Dancing show a few years ago, Fischer decided to do his own Strictly performance at a competitive event at a dinner for the charity earlier this year, on October 17.
Fischer added: “I thought it would be a great thing to do at the gala dinner and to help raise more money.” he says of the Tango he performed with partner Kate Potts, 29. So far the pair have raised £1,899.64 so far for the charity.
“We also had over 20 guests who attended at the actual event, so raised an additional £2,000 in ticket sales. We are both very chuffed to have raised so much for the charity.
“The dance competition was quite a challenge for us, and so it makes it very worthwhile to see such generosity from our friends and family. We were also lucky to have lots of support on the night of the event, which definitely helped!”
Fischer’s experience as a dancer wasn’t as easy as it seems. He added: “There were 12 couples in total, split between four dances – the slow waltz, the Cha Cha Cha, the Jive and Ballroom Tango.
“Kate and I chose the tango – and I would like to say it was definitely the hardest! We had seven weeks of rehearsals with a dance instructor to learn our routine before the performance.
“Luckily Kate danced a lot when she was younger, so was able to bring some pizazz to our routine!”
Fischer’s first time performing on the stage was very nerve-wracking.
He said: “I think its fair to say its one of the most challenging things we have done!”
However, it was also an incredible feeling to walk out in front of the judges and the crowd, and the highlight was definitely receiving a standing ovation from Vincent Simone (an ex-Strictly judge) at the end – it really was special.”
When asked if he had plans for another fundraiser in the near future, Fischer said: “As this is a charity I am directly involved with, and for a cause close to our heart, it was an easy decision for us to help out.
“The ‘Strictly’-style dance competition was certainly a massive personal challenge for both of us, and so not something we will be repeating right away!
“Having said that, I am definitely open to further events in the future, especially if it is for a good cause.”