My earliest memory is of playing hide and seek with my cousins in Nigeria. I hid in a cupboard and the door jammed so I was locked in. When eventually they found me, I was screaming. I have been claustrophobic ever since.
Contracting polio as a baby never stopped me being active. I lost the use of my left leg, but I walked to school wearing iron callipers – I looked like C-3PO from Star Wars if he had trodden in some chewing gum. I also rode a bike and played goalkeeper in football matches.
I was reluctant to get in a wheelchair when I first started playing basketball for Newham Rollers. There was a massive stigma, but I fell in love with the sport. I left home at 17 because my father thought I was wasting my life on wheelchair basketball. We didn’t speak for 10 years.
England is absolutely freezing. That was how I felt when I moved here aged three. We lived in a flat in Plaistow, east London, and my dad had to stock up on paraffin heaters. We used to store paraffin in the flat. How insane is that? Fortunately my parents didn’t smoke.
I am rubbish at filling in forms so I only got income support of £38 a week when I was trying to get into the Great Britain squad. I never want to struggle again. Money is not everything, but it gives you peace of mind.
Sporting success healed my relationship with my dad. Winning bronze at the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games and gold at the 2005 Paralympic World Cup in Manchester was special, but I was most proud when I was first selected for the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and Dad saw me.
My most romantic gesture was my proposal to Elle (Exxe, a singer-songwriter). I took her to Lake Como and the hotel staff set up a table with champagne, strawberries and candles. When I pulled out the ring she said: “I don’t care if you are in a wheelchair, you still have to get down on one knee.”
Paralympic sport has finally earned public respect. When I started out, one man and his dog would watch our games, and the dog would be asleep. Now a generation of disabled kids can see it as a viable career.
I have endured so much prejudice, I don’t even see it any more. As a child I remember people making monkey noises at my parents. And because I am in a wheelchair some people think I don’t have a brain. I’ve learned to tune it all out.
It would be nice to be a father one day. I am ready whenever, but my fiancée is at a crucial point in her career, so we will wait. I just want to stay fit enough to kick my kids’ arses at sport and say: “Once upon a time your old man was half-decent.”
Ade Adepitan co-presents Children in Need, BBC1 on 17 November