Thursday, 30 January 2014
Steve is working from India this week but that has not got in the way of the training regime. Each day this week Steve has been completing 20K on the treadmill and 30 miles on the bike in very hot and sweaty conditions. With snow forecast next week the training could be rather different when he is back in England.
Wednesday, 22 January 2014
Monday, 20 January 2014
Some of the staff at Jubilee House, Penrith with Arthur (in red) and a fellow fire fighter.
By Alex Hanson-Deakin
The Fire Fighters Charity and St Catherine’s Hospice are both charities that have helped our family tremendously and this is why we have chosen to support them in our charity drive this year. My Grandfather, Arthur, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 25 years ago and throughout my life I have watched the condition slowly take away his ability to perform daily tasks such as walking, dressing and now even using his wheelchair. We have been very lucky, in that the deterioration has happened slowly over a long period of time, but in the last 6 years we have been in desperate need of support and this is where these fantastic charities come in.
Arthur served in the fire service for 30 years, becoming an ADO. The diagnosis of his illness resulted in him taking early retirement and so for the past twenty years has devoted his time to music. For over 70 years the Fire Fighters Charity (formerly The Fire Service National Benevolent Fund) has been raising funds to support the fire and rescue community, and Arthur himself raised thousands of pounds during his time in the Fire Service. Arthur has been fortunate enough to attend Jubilee House at Penrith where he can go for rehabilitation or respite care. Jubilee provides Physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, emotional support, counselling together with 24 hour nursing, and the opportunity of mixing socially with other Fire Service personnel attending the Centre. This facility is offered to both serving and retired Fire Brigade personnel and their families.
During these two week rehabilitation stays the differences we see physically and emotionally are incredible. The nurses work closely with the patients on a one nurse to two patients basis giving them safety, reassurance and attention. He is given physiotherapy daily at Jubilee House including Hydrotherapy. The Hydrotherapy is particularly enjoyable for Arthur, as it allows him to move easily and comfortably, unfortunately this is an activity we are unable to offer him in our hometown. After his first visit to the centre the physiotherapy resulted in him being able to stand briefly, the tallest we have seen him in years which was amazing to watch. His strength was much improved with the ability to pick things up and squeeze a ball restored. The dedication and care of the staff is second to none and the centre has a very friendly and family orientated atmosphere. Arthur comes home from these breaks with stories of interesting people he has met and conversations he has had which is great for us to hear, as now he is unable to leave the house without the help of two careers and as a result has very little communication with people. These rehabilitation and respite stays benefit the whole family, in particular my nana, Trix, whom is Arthur’s full time carer.
St Catherine’s Hospice, Scarborough, have been extremely supportive for Arthur. St Catherine’s offers a Neurology Support Service and Arthur can attend here for respite periodically in the In-Patient unit. The hospice also runs weekly physiotherapy sessions in blocks of 8 week courses, which Arthur regularly attends with use of specialised transport provided.
The respite stays that St Catherine’s offer are very enjoyable for Arthur, the rooms at the hospice have equipment such as specialised chairs, ceiling runners for hoists and fantastic bathroom facilities, making daily tasks much more comfortable and easy. For Arthur having a bath is something that is impossible at home. The staff at St Catherine’s are more than happy to do this at the hospice even though it can take up to five members of staff to bath him. The hospice offer a homely environment, 24 hour care and a change of scenery which helps his health more than anything.
Trix, as a carer, also benefits from St Catherine’s attending a “time out” group. This Service is offered to carers who are looking after someone long term, giving them the opportunity of some "me" time over a cup of coffee. Being a full time carer is both mentally and physically draining in order to support careers St Catherine’s provide sessions of relaxation which can include reflexology and massages.
To sum up as Arthur has benefited from both these Charities it goes without saying that he thinks the Fire Fighter Charity and St Catherine's Hospice are deserving of support for the fantastic work they have done, enabling people like himself living with a progressive neurological illness to be helped through difficult times.