Category: Health

Here comes the bride: how a Red Cross wheelchair helped cancer survivor Madeleine on her wedding day

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Madeleine and Roy sit on chairs and kiss wearing their wedding clothes. A British Red Cross wheelchair helped Madeleine get around at the ceremony.

Madeleine and Ray, © Emily Snoding/EJ Photography

Survived cancer. Got a wheelchair from the British Red Cross. Made it down the aisle. This is Madeleine’s real-life checklist.

One of the things you can do for your #OneKindThing is help us with our mobility aids service. Our wonderful staff and volunteers get thousands of people moving up and down the UK every day. Last year, we loaned out almost 60,000 wheelchairs.

More than just a practical thing, a wheelchair loan can truly change someone’s life. It represents independence. Hope. Recovery. One person who can vouch for that is Madeleine Wickett.

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The therapy dog bringing people together

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Up in the Shetland Islands lives a furry friend who’s helping people feel less lonely.

For #OneKindThing, we’ve been asking you to do just one kind act for someone – to surprise them, to help them or to put a smile on their face.

A dog called George already has that box ticked.

Meet George’s owner, Gillian

Gillian Ramsay works as a Community Connector for the British Red Cross. She supports people who feel cut off from their community. And she’s got first-hand experience of that.

Her family moved from Yorkshire to the Shetland Islands 28 years ago. Gillian was a successful businesswoman. Her life was turned upside down when her husband set fire to their home and tragically died by suicide.

Losing her home to a fire was devastating, and her husband’s death was an even greater loss. Gillian shut herself off from friends and family.

Living in a very rural area meant that she barely had any human contact during this time of self-inflicted isolation. She felt totally alone.

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Beyond Panorama: a volunteer’s view of helping people home from hospital

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British Red Cross volunteer John Cooper helps a woman shop for food in a supermarket after she come home from hospital.

British Red Cross volunteer John Cooper helps a woman go shopping after a hospital stay

British Red Cross volunteer John Cooper tonight features in the second part of BBC Panorama’s Crisis in Care programme. 

Here, John explains how and why he supports people to live independently at home after a hospital stay.

I wouldn’t describe myself as particularly remarkable and, before volunteering for the British Red Cross, I had very little experience of working with vulnerable or older people.

I am a retired engineer and project manager who decided to volunteer because I have always been an active person.

I’m nearly 70 myself now and, though I am retired, it’s always been part of my nature to be doing something so I’ve been a volunteer for the last four years.

I’ve learned a lot in that time but it is certainly a challenge because, when people come out of hospital after an illness or injury, they can sometimes be starting from the beginning.

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Welcome back to life: Andy’s story

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We’ve been asking you to do #OneKindThing to change someone’s world.

And we know, changing someone’s world can seem like a huge, sometimes impossible, task. But we know it can be done, because of stories from people like Andy and Ian.

Coming home after a tough time in hospital can be quite an isolating experience. Only you know what you’ve been through, and you can feel quite different within yourself. This is exactly what happened to Andy.

Andy’s from Bristol, and he’s living with bowel cancer. After his diagnosis, he had to undergo surgery at the hospital before returning home – which is when he began to feel lonely, and as if he had no one to turn to.

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Periods, hygiene and brave young women volunteers in Bangladesh

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Azida, Nur Kayeda, and Hamida, three volunteers at the Red Cross camp for people who fled their homes after violence in Myanmar.

Azida, Nur Kayeda, and Hamida, hygiene volunteers

For World Menstrual Hygiene Day (Tuesday 28 May 2019), we’re shining a light on three 18-year-olds living in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Together, they are dedicated to helping women and girls in their community.

Keeping things hygienic in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, is a difficult task.

It’s the biggest refugee camp in the world, and people live in small, cramped conditions. That’s why the British Red Cross has built latrines and wash facilities here to promote best hygiene practices.

But for a woman in Cox’s Bazar, it isn’t as straightforward.

After these latrines were built, we found that some women and girls weren’t always using them.

There are reports of gender-based violence in the camps.

Many women are terrified to travel to wherever their nearest toilet is located. Some worry that their dignity and privacy will be compromised.

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Kindness: decoded

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A British Red Cross volunteer sits inside a van and speaks to another volunteer through the window. They are planning their activities for the day.

 

We admit: here at the British Red Cross, we’re always talking about kindness.

It’s because we believe it has the power to change someone’s world – and we see it happening, day in day out, through our incredibly selfless volunteers.

So, to kick off OneKindThing, we wanted to dig a little deeper and see what you thought about kindness. We sent a survey out to over 2,000 people in the UK, and we’ve decoded its results.*

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For Mother’s Day, a mum-of-four opens up about how she overcame loneliness

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Sarah, a mother who was helped by the British Red Cross loneliness service and Home-Start, sits and looks into the distance

Sarah, © Percy Dean/British Red Cross

Sarah was 24 when she had her first child. Now, she is 32 and a mother to four.

Looking back, Sarah says she realises she had been feeling lonely since the birth of her first baby. Things came to a head two years ago when she moved to a new area and didn’t know anybody.

Research by the British Red Cross and Co-op has shown that many young parents find themselves in the same position as Sarah. Despite its joys, becoming a parent is one of the big life transitions that can lead to loneliness.

“How do you make new friends when you don’t know anyone?”

“It was very scary to move somewhere where I didn’t know anybody, I’ve never been alone like that before,” Sarah said.

“At first it was very difficult. I didn’t have anyone to talk to or anyone who could come to visit me. I was just spending most of my time at home, I didn’t have anyone to see or anywhere to go.

“It sounds weird but I didn’t know how to socialise, how do you make friends when you don’t know anyone in this city? I didn’t even have any way of meeting people.”

Luckily, joining a support group for young mums run by family support charity Home-Start helped Sarah make new connections.

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Letting the breaks off: why wheelchairs matter

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A British Red Cross volunteer kneels and speaks to a woman sitting in wheelchair that she borrowed from the Red Cross

Imagine you have just had surgery on your hip after a bad fall.

You’ve been in hospital recovering and you’ve been told you mustn’t put any weight on your leg. You are ready to go home and you can’t wait to get back, make your own dinner, see your friends, go to the shops.

With your crutches in hand and longing for home, you’re on your way. But it’s much harder than you expect and you realise crutches aren’t a suitable aid for you.

You try to explain this, but are simply told that is all that’s on offer. Gradually you realise you are going to struggle.

Many people just accept that they are stuck at home. They may be unable to get out or go to work, and have to depend on others. Some face days or months of isolation, loneliness and even depression.

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