Our Christmas appeal
Without the support of regular respite, caring relationships can come under incredible strain. Your gift this Christmas will help us support families who simply need a break in order to recharge their batteries and continue caring for their loved one at home.
It’s difficult to articulate the wide range of thoughts and emotions you experience when you are finally diagnosed with a long term condition. My name is Anne and I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when I was 33 years old.
My husband and I were young parents with the same dreams and aspirations as so many other budding families. We had a very active little two-year-old boy and I was pregnant with our second child, who would soon turn out to be a beautiful baby girl. We had recently moved into a farmhouse in the stunning countryside near Blairgowrie. Anyone might think we were living the perfect fairy-tale life.
Despite this, I had a constant sinking feeling in the bottom of my stomach because I knew something wasn’t right with my health. After the birth of my son, I had temporarily lost my vision and when I began experiencing other symptoms during my second pregnancy, I was finally diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
The relief I felt after finally knowing what was wrong with me was quickly replaced with an overwhelming fear of the unknown. All I could think about was my family and wanting to be able to see my wee ones grow up.
I’m happy to report that not only did I manage to get them out of nappies, but I’m only one week away from seeing my ‘little girl’ walk down the aisle and about one month away from welcoming my second grandchild into the family. What a blessing and a joy it’s been to raise a family, although doing so while living with MS has not been easy.
It is for this reason I want to share with you the impact Leuchie House continues to have on my family, and families like mine, who are simply trying to support each other through the many challenges of living with a long term condition, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy or motor neurone disease.
Over the years, my health has deteriorated due to my condition. I am now a wheelchair user and have very little mobility left in my arms, making it impossible to dress, enjoy a meal or go to the toilet without assistance from my wonderful husband, Neil, who is also my full time carer.
Life can sometimes be a balancing act. As well as looking after me, Neil is also responsible for the 1,100 sheep on our farm. Each morning he wakes at the crack of dawn to tend to the sheep before coming back to help me out of bed. He makes sure I’ve had a good breakfast before heading back out again, and pops back in a few times throughout the day to make sure I’m ok. My children will sometimes help with meals or on the farm during the lambing season, but as they start their own families, you can see the toll that caring can take on the whole family.
They say that one in four unpaid carers has not had a single day’s break from caring in over five years! I have no doubt that if it weren’t for Leuchie, my husband would be exactly the same.
Before Leuchie, we had tried ‘respite’ in a care home, but I found myself surrounded by people twice my age with staff that lacked real experience of caring for people with long term conditions. There were limited facilities or equipment suitable for the complex care that my condition requires. My children were worried sick and visited me every day.
On our first trip to Leuchie, Neil promised he’d come back to get me the very next day if I didn’t like it, but I’ve never looked back. We now make the three hour drive to Leuchie twice a year to give my husband some much needed rest. I’d love to say he travels off to somewhere exotic during this time, but it simply gives him a bit of time to recharge his own batteries back home with the peace of mind that I’m happy and being well looked after. He knows that at Leuchie, it’s not like being restricted to a hospital room or care home – I am able to socialise with people just like me, treated to delicious home-cooked meals and enjoy choosing from a range of trips, activities and therapies.
I love my breaks at Leuchie. Going to Leuchie is like going into a world where everyone understands you. I have made some lifelong friends who I usually coordinate my breaks with so that we can enjoy a bit of banter and retail therapy. Just getting a break away from everyday makes all the difference to my year. I call it ‘my Leuchie time’.
If your family is anything like mine, I know you must be busy with the hustle and bustle of the festive season, but I hope you might still take the time to consider making a donation to Leuchie House.
It’s no small feat to keep Leuchie going, but thanks to the generosity of people like you, Leuchie House is able to offer respite breaks at a fraction of the cost it takes to actually deliver its service, making them affordable and accessible for families like mine.
No matter the size, your gift will make all the difference to carers, just like my husband, Neil, who are doing everything they can to support the ones they love.Your gift will make all the difference to families, just like mine, who all pitch in to make things work. And your gift will make all the difference to people, just like me, who are grateful to have a place like Leuchie, where you can enjoy a fun and relaxing break irrespective of your condition.
With best wishes over the holidays,
Anne Kydd, Leuchie guest, wife and mother of two…
Thanks to the remarkable support and generosity of people like you, we are able to offer carers, and their loved ones living with a long term condition, the chance to get a break and recharge their batteries.
Your support makes all the difference to the hundreds of families supported by Leuchie each year, just like Anne's.
- Call us to find out more 01620 892 864