I’m Jean Longville, aged 59, married, mother of two grown-up children, grandmother to two adorable grand daughters, and a retired graphic designer.
I had never known anyone with MND, but my father was diagnosed with MS and was treated for some 30 years for MS, but weeks before he died, aged 79 he had a slight heart attack. This was when dad first met Dr Bannergee.
Dr Bannergee straight away diagnosed my dad with a brain tumour, not MS as we had always believed. He is one of the finest doctors I have ever come in contact with. He could not really help dad by then, it was to late for that. However, his kindness to my mother was unbelievable, he understood how hard it was to be the carer, and a carer for so many years.
Dr Bannergee took my dad into one of his wards to give mom some respite. He showed us X-rays of dad's brain and explained so much to us, he helped us understand things about dad's brain tumour. Things that at times had been so hard to understand.
There were lots of people during this time when dad was really poorly who helped - like the lady who came and sat with him so I could take mom out for a couple of hours each week. Or the carers who came three times a day, they were so kind. South Staffs Social Service sent a wonderful lady who helped at every possible chance, These generous people you only meet when in need, but once you have seen and felt the benefit of their help, you never forget them.
After dad died, I felt very strongly about giving something back. I was so grateful for all we had received, so a friend introduced me to the MND Association, and after training I became a visitor for people with MND.
This is a new experience for me, and I am learning so much, but most of all I have met with some incredible people. I thought it was I who would be doing the giving, but it’s not; it’s the peole I visit who give. They are very brave people who I am honoured to know, and I always come away from a visit, feeling much stronger for knowing them.
Once again I have met with people who spend their lives helping others, nurses, carers, MND Connect (my life-line), Barbara my friend who got me into visiting and continues to sport me, Dr Heafield another wonderful caring doctor. The list goes on, and like one of the people I visit wrote, ‘Life’s full of people who care.' Knowing this alone is a wonderful lesson to learn.
The Worcestershire Link, an MND Newsletter we produce helps keep us all in contact with each other. It’s very much a joint effort. It’s the people with MND who do most of the writes-ups, my job is just to put it all together and Barbara has the difficult job of proof reading it all - however, it seems to be working out just fine.