One of my favourite TV programmes is the BBC’s DIY SOS. I just love the way people pull together and make things happen, in fact make things right for those desperately in need of a little help. I’m always astounded by the way people give up their time and money to assist where it’s needed the most. Often these individuals and groups are strangers and simply give because they can and have a desire to ‘give a little something back.’
Well about a year or so ago one of the programmes was about a wonderful family near Southampton where the mother (Haanagh) gave birth three months early to twins who have Cerebral Palsy. Haanagh and her husband Michael saw through these disabilities, ignored hospital advice “To leave them to die” and decided that their babies deserved the best of everything in life. This included healthcare, education and ensuring their needs, as they grew, were catered for in the best possible way. Haanagh and Michael have an older son, Harry, who absolutely dotes on his two little brothers and also benefit greatly from a wide network of family and friends who help and assist with the care of Reuben and Zachary the twin boys.
Anyway, the story was extremely moving and the ‘hero’ in the show (apart from those magnificent helpers) was 8 year old Harry, a big Southampton football fan, who was as loving and helpful towards the twins as you could ever imagine. Following the programme, I decided to enrol twitter and fans of the programme to try and get Southampton Football Club to do something special for Harry. As Haanagh too is a keen ‘Tweeter’ we were soon exchanging tweets and eventually we were also Facebook friends too. I spoke to numerous people at Southampton and hopefully, in the not too distant future, Harry will be invited along to meet his heroes. The DIY SOS team and volunteers were fantastic and helped make the home far more ‘user friendly’ for the twins and made life easier for Haanagh, Michael and of course the wonderful Harry.
Haanagh and Michael do a lot of fund raising to fill the gaps left by the NHS for things like physiotherapy which are needed far more often than the NHS can allocate. As the boys grow the list of ‘additional help’ grows longer and the cost increase accordingly. Apart from the ‘Rugby for Reuben’ and ‘Reubeneers’ sponsored rambling, there are cake stalls and a whole host of wonderful activities taken to help the cost of the twins care, all carried out and organised by family and friends. One of the main ‘money makers’ is a Charity Ball and last weekend, Hazel and I were kindly invited to share in the most amazing, moving occasion which helps not only Reuben and Zachary but two other charities which help other children with disabilities.
We drove down to Southampton on Saturday morning for the event which was held at The Solent Hotel and Spa on that evening. After checking in to a nearby hotel we changed in to our ‘glad rags’ and made the short journey to where the event was taking place. The welcome from Haanagh, Michael and all of the family and friends there was just amazing. They made us feel special and as the evening progressed, following Haanagh’s wonderfully emotional opening address, we met their parents, siblings, cousins and a whole host of friends and incredible people who do just brilliant things for Reuben and Zachary. The Charity Ball was simply awesome. Laughter, tears, determination and endless amounts of love probably describes the time in the company of an amazing group of human beings. It goes to show that family and health are two of the best things in life. Being with those who want to be with you and pull together in tough times is something money just can’t buy, but money does help in other ways, it gives you comforts, choices and opportunities and that’s why the fund raising is vital for the continued welfare of those who need help the most. Haanagh and Michael are truly inspirational people as are their wonderful family and friends who provide a ‘safety net’ and emotional support for those caring for Reuben and Zachary. Hazel and I were honoured to have been invited to share such an occasion.
There are too many ‘lessons’ from our trip to mention but determination, not giving up and enough love to make the World spin quicker were just the stand out ones. If you have the opportunity to help someone or a worthwhile cause, please do it. If in need of help, just ask because you’ll be amazed at the amount of awesome individuals who will offer assistance. We just feel incredibly humbled to have been lucky enough to have been there with such brilliant people. Reuben and Zachary can’t help but thrive with all that behind them.