Amazing Stories in the time of COVID

A month ago we asked our customers for personal stories about amazing people who would be an inspiration to us all during a tumultuous year. A huge thank you to everyone who took time to write to us; every story was truly moving and wonderful.

We cannot feature them all, so have chosen 3 that we hope will deliver a big beam of light at the end of what has been a long tunnel for many. 

Zara Kenny

“I’m Zara, 33 years old from Plymouth. 

I was born with a genetic condition called Cystic Fibrosis (CF). It is a life limiting illness which affects many internal organs, mainly the Lungs and digestive system. With this, I am also diabetic, have a CF related bone disease and deaf in one ear. 

This condition worsens as time goes on, and sadly I have declined rapidly over the past 5 years. 

I began living a life on a constant IV Antibiotic plan, this kept me breathing at a lung function between 10-34% however I had no quality of life. 

This time last year (Oct 2019) the doctors made that choice to refer me to Harefield London to start the process of Lung Transplant. I was undergoing pre tests at my local hospital- Derriford in Plymouth. As always for most CF patients, winter is tough, and the signs of Covid were brewing. 

I battled through, however Covid restrictions forced transplants to be on hold… so everything came to a halt. With my rapid decline I felt exhausted and drained.

Towards the end of January, we discovered I was eligible to start a new ‘Miracle’ tablet called Symkevi, this is a life changing drug which could help improve my lung function on average by 4%, but stretch my need for IVs, giving me a better quality of life. We hoped this tablet would pull me through the Covid period to reassess the transplant situation when it’s safe to do so. 

I started to see amazing results, not feeling so drained, and tired… 8 months later and I’m the best I’ve felt in a long time. I’m now off the lung transplant referral list… and I’ve managed more time off IVs. My lung function has increased to 40-50%… this may seem rubbish to some, but I haven’t managed a deep breath for years! I’ll soon be starting Kaftrio, (a more effective drug) which should boost me a little more… I can’t believe this is possible. This is like a dream come true. 

For years we have fund raise for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust- “One day we’ll find a cure” , now I’m starting to believe this could be true! I wish all my CF friends who have sadly passed away could be here today to witness this! 

With my new happiness and energy, I wrote a children’s book during lockdown. A Dave The Black Pug Book- “I want to be a Puglebrity” (yes, I have a pug called Dave) he has his own social media @davetheblackpug on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter. It is available to purchase on Amazon.

I feel I’ve been given a new lease of life! Although I still have many medical complications- I can breathe! 

What a rollercoaster… 

Can you believe a year ago I was putting in place my after death wishes & funeral plans, preparing for the worst… the worries of Covid, the isolation (and still ongoing) the many sad days…and now here I am, with a children’s book… taking a deep breath… What a miracle! 

I hope my story inspires people to believe and gives hope to those who feel like it’s the end. 

Much Love & Pug Hugs 

Zara Teare & Dave The Black Pug”

Zara Kenny amazing covid stories

Sarah Jayne Hall

Hello,

I wanted to tell you about my Mum – Julieta Hallworth.

Mum turns 67 next month and works as a carer in Poynton, Cheshire for lots of vulnerable elderly people. She goes to their houses/flats and does whatever they need – from cooking, shopping, cleaning, washing them and helping them with medication and so much more… It’s around the clock care for those who need it most.

I cannot get my head round the fact that my Mum has continued to work through the pandemic – but she wants to help and is doing such an amazing job. She sees it as her duty to support others, she has an incredibly kind heart. 

I’d love her to know how amazing she is. Before the pandemic she inspired me greatly, but to see how she is helping people and families with love in her heart and a smile on her face when the world is fearful is nothing short of spectacular. 

I am proud to call her my Mother and I can’t thank her enough for everything she’s doing, that she has done and no doubt will continue to do in my lifetime. I love her and appreciate her so much!  

Really hope you can share her story. 

Best Wishes,

Sarah-Jayne 

Sarah Jayne hall amazing covid stories

Sydnee Jeffries

Nan – 

Well, 2020 was meant to be the year for everyone I’m sure. First dates, first kisses, first weddings, first home buyers, first holidays, lots of firsts for many that will just need to be on hold that little longer. A first came into my family’s lives very unexpectedly, a first we never wanted and no it wasn’t just Covid. It was our first heartbreak. The #1 in the family, our beautiful Nan was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

When you first hear these words, your heart literally breaks in two, shatters and you can feel your self buckling not knowing how to stay standing. But you do. We all cried, and broken we were, all the family had no idea what to do. Make another cuppa, cry a little more, reminisce again, think about life before, disappear. But no, my Nan was having none of it. She had an action plan. 

Well, the original one she wanted was to go alone, but she knew this was a journey for us all ahead.You see, she thought that she would go alone to hospital, get a taxi, have the operation then come home and call us to say well it’s all gone now! That’s what she’s like a trooper, always thinks of others before herself. 

That was the thing about lockdown and Covid, it brought us closer as a family and she knew she wouldn’t be able to do it alone. So I packed up my bags and moved in with her, so I could isolate and look after her when she had had the operation. And I did. 

Those 4 weeks were the best, we laughed so much, we drank lots of wine, ate so much food and then the day came of the operation. She went in head held high and brave. She came out exactly the same. And now we are almost 3 months down the line and she never fails to remain strong, she is quite literally the bravest woman I know. 

The point is we have all had to deal with a lot of firsts this year. But I know one of the biggest firsts of all is the moment we all found out just how precious a life can be, how important your family would be, just how amazing our NHS actually is. I know that I have many firsts still to come in life and you do too, but they won’t all be bad, they will be good too. 

For the first time I know what is the most important thing in my life, and that is my Nan. You are my hero. And now our hearts aren’t shattered anymore because your spirit and determination glued them back together. We love you Nan.

Chris dale amazing covid stories

A big thank you to everyone who shared their story. We wish you all a happy Christmas.

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