Healthcare Heros: The Passion Project

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This I think is one of my proudest achievements in my life so far. I thought being published in the British Medical Journal was pretty special but this has trumped everything including qualifying as a nurse, playing for Scotland, speaking at various events, being part of the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research, running a half marathon and being an Auntie to 3 nephews and a niece. This just tops it all- being part of a book which is filled with such inspirational people and to have my story among them is just bewildering.

On Thursday 2nd February I attended the launch of the Healthcare Heros: The Passion Project book. I took my best friend down with me and we were both treated to first class train travel and to say we were giggling kids getting excited at all the food and free drinks was an understatement. We were also put up in a hotel for the night so we could attend the  evening reception and launch.

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The launch itself was totally overwhelming and I was full of mixed emotions. I still don’t quite know why I was chosen to be in the book because I just do what I do because I enjoy it and if I didnt I would curl up in a ball and be a hermit as really wouldn’t have much purpose. I want to make a positive out of a bit of a negative situation. The room was set up and there was a full size poster of me on the wall and on a sandwich board along with all the other Heros in the book.

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What started off as an interview which I didnt think was a big deal has turned into a very big deal and a huge achievement. When I got to the reception I did an interview and answered some questions and then got to meet some of the other Heros. It was inspiring to hear the other stories and what struck me most was that everyone had such different stories and reasons for doing things but we were all just normal people who have had some hiccups and tried to make the most out of it.

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This photo is of the other people in the book. There is a guy who invented a device for his own heart due to Marfan syndrome causing it problems, a photographer with parkinson’s, a walking group, a lady who makes prosthetics individual to the user, people involved in biomechanics making limbs which work, a man who is a porter who always makes sure patients are put first, the inventor of the single use syringe, a pioneer in plastic surgery, a woman improving patient hydration, a heart patient who ran a marathon on Mount Everest, a nurse connecting to isolated communities, someone who never lets people cry on their own, the man behind the first biopic eye transplant, the artists who make hospitals less sterile looking, a midwife improving the bond between parents and child, another patient who educates drs and nurses about his condition, a pioneer in helping the body heal itself, a deaf woman who is giving the gift go hearing to others, the paramedic who bikes around London and the champion of compassionate care and then there was me. The stories of the above people are amazing and so touching. You can read more about them at http://www.healthcare-heros.com

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It was such a privilege to meet all these people who are so down to earth and do what they do because they love it. I had a chat with one gentleman who has parkinson’s and is a photograpgher. He summed it up- if he can’t do something he finds a way to do it but it might just be a different way to get to the end result. And I guess that is what we all do. We don’t like being told we can’t do something but when we are we just find a way around it. This is what I lead my life by. I don’t see my asthma as stopping me from doing things it just means I need to do things differently.

I also got to meet Kate Granger’s husband which was humbling. He spoke so well about Kate and what she had done but it must have been so hard as she had only died a few months ago. She is a true inspiration. He was joined by Michel Roux Junior who had taught Kate how to make Brioche (one of her bucket list items), so I got a cheeky photo with him although I think after that lots of others wanted one too!!!

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I will treasure this book and the stories of the people in it as well. When I have days when I just want to give up and not fight my asthma, or frustrated by what its not letting me do I just need to sit back and read one of the stories in the book to bring myself back to where I need to be.

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Me and Jenni with the book!!!

What I want to say to anyone reading this I think is that whatever faces you don’t give up. Everything is possible it might just need to take longer or done a different way but sitting down and not doing something is letting whatever is blocking you win and for me I won’t let my asthma win, it may control a lot of my life but I will beat it and continue doing what I am doing.

Dum Spiro Spero

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