Starlight Children's Foundation

Starlight Children's Foundation, 'Starlight' is an amazing charity that brightens the lives of seriously ill children and young people.

They do this in hospitals, hospices and in the community; through wish granting, pantomimes, escape days, distraction boxes, boost boxes and much more.

The wishes granted can be vastly different and only limited by a child's imagination! From being a policeman for the day, to swimming with dolphins, to being a princess for the day. The wish to meet a singer, celebrity or TV character, to going on holiday and everything in between!

The pantomime crew tour around many hospitals, bringing great pleasure to young patients. Entertaining them and distracting them from painful and unpleasant treatments they may be going through.

Starlight runs several escape days every year. They are days when families are given the opportunity to 'escape' and have some fun as a family. They normally involve a large number of activities on offer from …

Accessible Swimming

Have you thought of swimming? I think it is a great form of exercise suitable for all. Young, old, able bodied and disabled.
I love swimming. I am free in the water and can move around at ease. On land, I am restricted to my bed or wheelchair, and moving around is so hard. Whereas in the water it is completely different. I can move! I am like a fish!

I have been going swimming and to hydrotherapy once a week, since 2012. I hate missing them.

My first experience of going in a swimming pool is quite a memorable one. Not just for me, but for my Mum! We went to a para sports day at Surrey Sports Park, Guildford, Surrey. You were allowed to have taster sessions, including in the 50 metre Olympic size swimming pool! Gently is not a word in my vocabulary! I go straight for the deep end… Well literally! I had never been swimming since becoming disabled. There was going to be no one else looking after me in the water, just my Mum and she could not touch the floor anywhere, as there was no shallo…

Graduating from AAT

On Thursday 19th September 2019, I graduated with an AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting! I achieved a higher level qualification. Not a degree. Nevertheless, a qualification I am proud of. I have achieved.

It has been a journey. A journey of disjointed education and a lack of education due to being ill. From having only one GCSE at the age of 16, compared to the nine or ten of my peers, and of which I achieved bed bound, in hospital. Now at the age of 28, later than anticipated, nevertheless, better late than never, I am a qualified AAT accountant.

It has been hard, balancing studying with daily exercises, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy sessions, hospital appointments, pain, fatigue and physical limitations as well as the general demands of life, of which there are many! However, I have got there and succeeded, obtaining a Distinction!

I spent four and a half years studying part-time at Brooklands college, initially starting with my Science GCSE, then moving on to complete AAT Lev…

Accessible Winchester

Winchester is a great place to go and there is lots to do, but how much is accessible? The good news is a lot of it is accessible! We stayed in the Holiday Inn, Winchester. It is not walking distance from the town, so it is advisable to have a car. There is free parking, including many disabled parking spaces. The hotel was opened in 2012, so is modern and I feel has been built with accessibility in mind. They are one of the few hotels that have interconnecting rooms. Something that I find works really well for us (Mum, Dad and me). I have my own room, which has emergency cords and an en suite accessible wet room. The wet room has a pull down shower seat and rails, as well as a standard toilet and basins. I have to take my own shower chair, as the other one is not suitable for me, but it is good they have one. There is a double bed in the accessible room, which the hotel take out and store elsewhere, so my hired electric bed and air mattress can go in. This really makes a big difference…

Superhero Tri 19-Team Hannah

On Saturday 17th August 2019 I returned to Dorney Lake, near Windsor, to complete the Superhero Tri for a second time. I had previously competed in the first one in 2017, but missed out on the second one in 2018, due to just coming out of hospital and recovering from major surgery.
This year I was back and raring to go! This time, not just with one team, but two teams, under the umbrella of Team Hannah. Team Hannah was a great team. It consisted of Nia and Jon swimming; me cycling, with my Dad as my sidekick and Matt cycling; Ami wheeling/walking, with Ewan as her sidekick and my Mum walking.

This year the sponsor was Marvel. Each team was assigned to one of four superhero teams: Captain Marvel; Captain America; Hulk or Iron Man. Team Hannah came under team Captain America. I felt Captain America's character traits: 'Courageous, determined and honest' and mantra of 'whatever it takes' summed us up well! 

Nia and Jon completed their 150 metre swim, in th…

What is FND?

A few months ago, I would not have written this post as I would have thought people would judge and misunderstand. However, I thought if I don't do more to raise awareness of a condition that can be very dehabilitating, then how will there be more understanding and less stigma? A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. There is a lack of understanding within many health professionals, let alone the general public.
I thought, people would then think I had a mental health illness. But then there is nothing wrong with mental health illnesses. I know many people with them and accept them for who they are. Unfortunately, we live in a challenging and difficult world and currently so many people seem to suffer with them.
FND stands for Functional Neurological Disorder. It is one of several illnesses I have. It is the 'box' I fitted into for neurorehabilitation at the Wolfson unit (my last post). I am not sure I would have 'qualified' for rehabilitation at that unit under my …

My stay at the Wolfson unit

I have recently come out of the Wolfson unit for neurorehabilitation, at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton, under the St George's University Foundation Trust.

I had a 12 week inpatient stay in the Gwynne Holford Ward. The ward consists of mainly neuro patients, although there is some amputee patients. The amputee patients and neuro patients have separate treating teams and go to different gyms. With the amputee patients using the Douglas Bader Rehabilitation unit. Socialising takes place altogether in one of the two dining rooms at mealtimes and in the bays. Overall, the aim for all patients is rehabilitation, leading to independence and enhanced quality of life, whether you are an amputee or neuro patient.

There were a variety of neuro patients with different illnesses from Functional neurological disorder (FND), strokes, Guillain-Barré syndrome and spinal injuries etc

I fitted in under FND as this is one of the illnesses I have. There were four FND patients there at any one time…