Christmas came early for local girl Hana, who went on a once in a lifetime tall ship adventure thanks to dedicated staff at PCVS, a local GP and a volunteer! Hana was not willing to allow her disability stand in the way of her enthusiasm to sail on the Lord Nelson Tall Ships voyage around Las Palmas in December 2018. However, with just days to go, Hana was left without an able-bodied ‘buddy’ to accompany her on the adventure.
Hana’s GP, Dr Rhiannon Nally from Wansford Surgery has a big heart for her patients and champions the voluntary and private sector working together. Faced with Hana’s situation, Dr Nally contacted PCVS to see if a buddy could be found. Jan Cottrell, PCVS Wellbeing Manager said, ‘Dr Nally’s plea to find a buddy in just four days touched our hearts and we worked all weekend, sending out 60 emails to trusted contacts so that we could make this happen’.
Sonia Cullington, Director of WOW Fitness, was well known to the Wellbeing Service. Sonia has worked extensively with Public Health and the GP Referral Service to support people from all kinds of backgrounds. Sonia and Hana hit it off straight away finding that they live close to each other and were both born in Dundee!
Hana said, ‘I wanted to do something without the support of my family and this voyage helped me to build my confidence and self-esteem. There’s so many new things to try on Nelson, and climbing the crow’s nest will be a new challenge and help improve my physical strength and balance’.
Hana has Disequilibrium Syndrome, a long-term condition with similarities to Cerebral Palsy and is characterised by progressive neurological symptoms and signs attributable to cerebral edema that occurs due to fluid shifts into the brain. Hana has to cope with visual problems and a key symptom for Hana is deafness caused by Auditory Neuropathy which means hearing aids don’t really help. Hana and Sonia sailed away together in December for 8 days. The voyage included working together in a team of 50 people,12 of whom have a disability.
Dr Nally said, ‘I think this is a shining example of how we can work with the voluntary and private sector to change people’s lives’. The idea of working collaboratively with the NHS and voluntary sector is not new to Peterborough and fits into their 5 year forward plan and is welcomed by Wansford Surgery.