We should do something to help every day

Gavin Hageman

Gavin Hageman

First published in News

EVERY day is a special day and a special opportunity. As I sit down today to write the next disabled space: I realise that today (last Sunday) is Father’s Day.

I cannot help reflecting on what this means to me and obviously I think a lot about my children who don’t live with me any more.

Our lives and calenders are full of symbolic days that mean something special to someone.

Every time September 14 comes and passes I cannot help but reflect on the day I had my massive stroke six years ago that left me without the use of two limbs and only partial vision.

During the early months of my recovery when I was distraught, thinking about all the things that I could no longer do, somebody said to me you have a whole new and different life now and there will be new doors opening, new opportunities and you must think of this as a whole new start and take maximum advantage of the things that come your way.

Saturday saw the Trooping of the Colour to celebrate the Queen’s official birthday. A couple of years ago I applied for tickets so that I could take my two boys, but decided that London would be too much for me.

Even though I can no longer take my children to London there are many new opportunities and things that I can do better with them, such as get quality time with them as opposed to when I was always working and scarcely seemed to see them.

Having history as a passion as well as time on my hands led me to do one of the most fulfilling activities with my boys recently.

I bought a tub of mealworms from my local pet shop and began training a robin in my garden to eat them from a dish. After a couple of weeks I had the robin eating from my hands. When I told my sons they couldn’t believe it and they were quickly at my cottage having a go themselves.

Thinking about Father’s Day and my relationship with them, I think of the glee on their faces when the Robin came and sat on their hands to eat. It was incredible and I know that this opportunity would not have arisen had I not had my stroke and become disabled.

A few weeks ago it was Stephen Sutton day in honour of the inspiring teenager who has raised £4 million for a cancer charity from his bedside whilst dying in hospital.

His friends and supporters promoted the idea that on Stephen Sutton day everybody should do something kind for somebody else. That’s a great idea, but actually I think every day should be a Stephen Sutton day.

Like Stephen, I want to do something to help the cause specific to me and help future stroke survivors to recover faster. This week I’m helping research at Oxford University and the John Radcliffe Hospital which will involve my brain being subjected to minute magnetic and electronic pulses to find out if it can help the brain recover.

It’s much better that I do this rather than some innocent lab rat.

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