A former prisoner affected by dyslexia is setting out on a 50 mile bike ride on Saturday 15th July to raise funds for the award-winning charity which helped him to transform his life.
40 year-old Dale Easter has been in and out of prison throughout his adult life for theft and drugs as a result of being homeless. Diagnosed with dyslexia aged 22, Dale’s mother passed away just four weeks later and there was no one around to help Dale to understand his disability. As a result, he also lost his children, all contact with his family and felt the world had given up on him.
Education had always been a problem for Dale due to his dyslexia and he repeatedly tried to get help within the prison system. As an example of how his complete lack of education had affected his life he was unable to read the prison food menu. At meal times he simply gave a random number between 1 and 5, with absolutely no idea what food he would be given. He often ended up with something he disliked but asking for help to read something as simple as a menu would have been embarrassing and shameful to him and so his life became a series of poor choices.
Dale’s life changed forever when Jackie Hewitt-Main founder of The Cascade Foundation was brought into the prison by director, John Biggin OBE, specifically to help men with learning difficulties.
Jackie sat with Dale and explained about multisensory teaching and how it had helped her cope with her dyslexia. She and her ex-offender teacher, Colin, went on to help Dale every step of the way and after over two decades he learnt to read and write in a way that worked best for him.
Before joining The Cascade Foundation’s programme, Dale did not know his alphabet. Within six weeks he had learnt it all. He was able to read and write a few words and soon he was even able, with help, to write a letter to John Biggin to thank him for allowing Jackie and The Cascade Foundation into the prison.
Explains Dale: “I’d been waiting 20 years for something like this to come along, for somebody to help me learn. Jackie was that person. She is my angel. She helped me to change my life forever.
“I know from my own personal experiences that there are many thousands of people out there like me which is why I decided to organise a 50 mile bike ride to raise funds for The Cascade Foundation and help even more people.”
Concludes Jackie: “Dale is such an inspiration to everyone who meets him. He is so full of energy and positivity you can’t help but be buoyed by his enthusiasm. He is a prime example of what can be achieved through the work we do and we wish him every success with his bike ride!”