There are lots of things I could have tried to write my second post about, but in the end there was really only one topic that I could choose today and that’s the amzingness (is that a word?!) of my friends and how the support of friends is so wonderful.
The reason that I have to write about just how amzing the support of friends is because of one particularly wonderful friend. In fact this friend has always been wonderful, generous and kind. It was her who when my husband and I moved into our last property put together a funny ‘New Home’ kit together from Dubai’s answer to a pound shop, including a brilliant garden gnome who still sits out in the garden of our home. On the surface of it, that statement might not sound particularly wonderful, but in a city where friendships are often transient, this friend has always gone out of her way and since she knew that having outside space was what we were most excited by, she gave us a garden gnome who could take up residence in pride of place. The first gnome has since been joined by a friend and has seen the outside space become a garden. The firendship has also remained. Is it too cliched to say that the friendship has blossomed like the garden?!
My friend has sent me happy and kind messages throughtout the last year, but it’s in the last week that she really took me by surprise. Determined to spread word of EDS, which is largely a little know condition, I had shared a post from the charity ‘EDS Support UK’ about a charity walk, in the hope that some of my friends and family might take up the challenge. In fact many who have EDS try to raise arareness of the illness. Just look up Lucy Watts who was awarded an MBE this year for services to young people with disabilities. She blogs on this site about her stuggle with EDS under the name ‘Lucy’s Light and seems to be an amazing young person http://www.lucy-watts.co.uk/2015/12/new-years-honours-lucy-watts-mbe_31.html. Anyway, I’m certainly not up in the category as Lucy is in terms of her charity work, but I had shared the post from EDS Support UK. The friend I’m talking about saw the post but wasn’t able to support the Charity Walk on account of her being halfway round the globe, well probably not halfway, but certainly some way away. Of course, I hadn’t expected that my Dubai friends would be able to support, so I was happily surprised by the fact that she sent me a private message and offered to dedicate her running of a half marathon in the UAE to the charity.
Unable to help through the original channel, this friend really went above and beyond to help support the charity, which in turn supports my illness. I loved the idea and so this friend went on to set up a Just Giving fundraising page (I’m going to try and add the details at the bottom of this post) and is now trying to raise awareness to get people to sign up to sponsor her. I was just so touched by the fact that this friend has gone to so much trouble for me and what I think of now as ‘my’ charity.
Everybody always says you find your true friends in difficult situations and I believe that’s true. I’ve got another Dubai friend who is going out of way on her UK holiday, quite literally out of her way, to visit me. Again this action has really touched me and I’m looking forward to her visit soon. Another amazing friend is an old school friend who some months ago realized that I was in the UK and unwell and sent me a message. I have to be honest and say that when I found the message in my ‘others’ message folder, it took me a little while to get the courage to reply to this friend since I didn’t know how I felt about people from my old life seeing me in a wheelchaiir, but this friend waited and as soon as I did message replied back so that we could meet up. We subsequently did meet and it was like the last 19-20 years didn’t happen as we picked up our friendship again as easily as if that was 19-20 days, or even 19-20 hours.
I’ve made other friends through ‘my’ charity’s online support groups who have been incredibly generous in sharing their stories with me so that I can take strength from knowing that I’m not alone. Although for now at least most of these friendships remain online, there is one particularly special lady who has become one of my closest confidants and who leapt – well metaphorically! – at the chance to physically meet up when we realized how closeby we were geographically. This friend and her brilliant husband were able to visit me in hospital and lift my spirits when I was largely on my own and even though she is juggling her own struggle with EDS, with family life and with maintaining her career, this amazing lady will take the time to send messages asking how I’m feeling, sharing her own struggles with me and spending hours talking to me online so that we can try and help each other to feel better.
There were friends who took the chance straight away to ‘like’ my flurry of posts yesterday, which I took support from and there was the stranger, now friend, who took the time to write a reply to my post and really boosted my confidence in what I was doing with her kind and supportive words.
I could go on and on and I really don’t want to miss people out. I haven’t even started on the supportive family members – by blood and by marriage – who’ve helped me in some way or other in the last year and who can’t be thanked enough. I’ll just say thank you to all my friends who’ve been in touch with me in some way or other and tell you how much you’ve helped through your actions.
It’s been another long post, but I wanted to say thank you and if you’ve stuck with me this far, please do take a look at http://www.ehlers-danlos.org and also visit Just Giving and look for my friend’s fundraising page – I’d rather not share her name here so please if you don’t know who I’m talking about, please visit my Facebook page to find the link or PM me and I can send you the direct link.
In fact, I just looked and we’re already almost at the first target set before the end of the first day. The race is two weeks away so I think we’ll be setting a new target 🙂 Just one more way in which I’ve felt so amazingly supported by my brilliant friends and even friends of my friend who I didn’t know before, but who’ve read my story and decided to support EDS Supprt UK – that’s ‘my’ charity by the way 🙂 xx