Paralympic Values - A True Story
The Paralympic Values are: courage, determination, inspiration and equality
This is my Mum. Stella.
One Saturday in March 2011, she began to feel unwell and had to cut short a walk along the seafront where she lives. Over the next 48 hours, she quickly became very unwell and was rushed to hospital where she was put into an induced coma and intubated. She had sepsis. Her body was struggling to fight the infection rampaging through it and she spent the next three weeks in an induced coma with machines supporting the function of her heart, liver, and kidneys. Her body was working so hard just to stay alive, that blood wasn’t reaching her fingers and legs. After three weeks, Mum’s body was winning the battle against sepsis, but the road to recovery would be a long and bumpy one.
Why am I telling you this? Because when Richard was talking about the Olympic and Paralympic values on Monday, I kept thinking of Mum.
Over the course of several months following the infection, Mum was moved from ward to ward and then to another hospital and finally to a rehabilitation setting. She had to process the fact that she would have to have her fingers and lower legs amputated, to recover from these huge operations, to learn how to hold a knife and fork again, to learn how to get herself out of bed without help, how to put on sock liners and prosthetic legs, and she had to learn how to walk. Mum refused to give up, she learnt to walk, and in the summer of 2012, she went up to London with Dad and my sister to watch the Paralympics.
She now works with Sussex University and the local NHS network to educate ICU staff and improve the level of care for ICU patients and their families. She has spoken in front of 100s of people for Sepsis Trust UK about her experiences and she offers support, advice and understanding to other sepsis survivors and amputees. Mum advocates for better facilities and support for people with disabilities and continues to use her experiences to help others.
This year is 10 years since Mum was taken ill. She and Dad have spent the last 18 months shielding due to COVID-19, but she keeps on going. My Mum embodies all of the Paralympic values and we are very proud of her.
Please follow this link to Sepsis Trust UK to make sure that you know the early signs of sepsis.