Tag Archives: eosinophil

#NEAW2018: D is for Donate

May 21: D is for Donate

There’s nothing I hate more than spotting a charity canvasser on the street and I’ll happily confess that I instantly become one of those individuals who speed up and drop my eyes down to avoid drawing too much attention to myself if I can help it. It’s not that I’m not prepared to donate to charity – oh how ironic this post would be if I was – but I am definitely not a fan of being pressured to sign up to an ongoing commitment to any one charity whilst out and about doing other things. Part of my problem is that I hate to say no to people and always end up feeling very disingenuous as well as guilty when I come up with a reason why I don’t want to set up a regular donation on the spot.

A cash donation can help, of course it can, but these days I don’t really know what charity to suggest when it comes specifically to making a financial contribution to support those diagnosed with EGID. There are no charities in the UK currently working on research into gastro conditions and few investing time and energy into supporting families living with the consequences of this challenging diagnosis. As long as gastrointestinal disease remains the “poor” cousin to so many other life-impacting conditions, there is little chance of much progress when it comes to finding ways to improve the day-to-day life of those living with it.

However, donation is about much more than just the money. Your time, your care and your support can make an incredible difference to a family living with chronic illness and the impact should never be underestimated. When someone takes 5 minutes to ask how M is doing, and, even more importantly, asking how G and the rest of the family are too, that effort is priceless. At the moment, we seem to be a state of status quo with M’s health which is fantastic, but there is also a sense of overwhelming ennui when it comes to our ongoing relationship with our local hospital and M’s gastro consultant. Taking the time to talk to me about life apart from M’s EGID makes a big difference and should never be seen as inconsequential. We teach M constantly that there is so much more to life than his illness and it’s important that we hold on to that truth and don’t get bogged down in the mundane.

There are, of course, a million and one charities who need financial support and it’s a challenge to choose the cause that’s not only closest to our hearts, but needs that money the most. This year we’re not actively fundraising as part of NEAW, mostly because I only changed jobs a month ago and haven’t found the time to be more organised, but thanks to M’s bold cheek, we have a small fundraiser planned for the end of June. Last year, he asked the founder of their Saturday dance school if this year’s end of year concert could be a fundraiser for the amazing Over The Wall charity and he and G are now working hard on their presentation to introduce the evening. M is thrilled to be attending an OTW Health Challenges camp again this summer and we continue to be extremely grateful for the care, support and opportunities they have given both children. Both OTW and my new role with our local air ambulance have shown me so clearly that whilst the money is important and enables both charities to continue doing their fantastic work, volunteering with them has equal value. At work our volunteers are an integral part of our workforce and the truth is, quite simply, that their daily contribution to the running of the charity cannot and should not ever be underestimated.

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When home life met the school science class

It does sometimes take a while for me to catch up on my blog with what’s been happening in real life, but a near 4-month gap to report much be something of a record, even for me. I’m not entirely certain why it has taken me so long to share this story, but I can only imagine that the constant stream of events since the start of February pushed it out of my mind and it was only thanks to a search through some old photos last night whilst I was looking for something else, that my memory was jogged and the subject for today’s post settled. What now feels like many moons ago, G was set a creative homework, something that she was excited to do, but a little stumped as to the direction she wanted to go. The task was to make a model of a cell for science and the options available were seemingly endless. checkThere were no strict guidelines as to the type of cell to be created and she had free reign as to the medium of her model, with even cake being a possibility if she so wanted. As is often the case when tackling the more challenging pieces of homework set, G and I spent some time discussing at length what she could do before reaching a decision.

She had made a few uninspired suggestions, but I could tell her heart wasn’t really in them and her enthusiasm waning. G loves being creative, art being one of her favourite lessons at school and I knew that if we could only settle on the right cell, she would soon warm to the subject and give her all to making the best model she could. So often I’m reluctant to drag EGID into G’s world any more than is necessary, but this time I wondered if researching and then making a model eosinophil would be the answer to her dilemma. 10562609_10153256228956123_3212893174847273723_oTo my relief, as my fount of inspiration was certainly beginning to run dry, she loved the idea and instantly sat down to research as much as she could as, whilst we know all about what eosinophils do in the body, we didn’t know what an individual cell looked like.

Having found some good images on the internet, G then addressed the matter of her model-making. Despite an initial yearning for cake-baking and decorating that appealed to her 12 year-old senses, although a lot less to me, we instead headed off for a trip around our local craft shop and pinpointed the few essential items that would effectively illustrate the structure of an eosinophil without requiring too much parental input and inspiration. A quick tutorial once we were back at home on how to best construct her cell gave her all she needed and I left her to it at the kitchen table, whilst I busied myself in the same room, preparing packed lunches and dinner. Her finished model was fantastic and the diligent labels indicating the different part of the cell were the result of her focused efforts and careful work. What’s more, her model eosinophil proved to be the catalyst for other work that she chose to similarly link to her experiences of EGID and which ended up with her showing last year’s NEAW video to her science class to teach them more about the condition. G has been rewarded for her hard work by her science teacher with some much coveted house points and we’re so proud that she felt confident enough to share an aspect of her home life with her school science class.

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