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Spinning back to life

Bobbie's story

"Cavell Nurses’ Trust helped me improve my life and give me my independence and self-respect back.”

Bobbie dedicated her life to nursing for 30 years, working in a variety of roles including caring for chronically sick young people, coronary patients, general surgery and also working as a Specialist Combat Medical Technician with the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps.

“I enjoyed all my nursing posts and to be able to go home at the end of a shift and know that you’ve made a difference to someone who is feeling low, is a privilege.”

After retiring from nursing, Bobbie and her partner Jenny enjoyed travelling and took a trip to Bulgaria in 2010. Unfortunately Bobbie suffered an accident whilst there and damaged her spinal cord, ending up in hospital. After operations in Bulgaria and then more back home in the UK, Bobbie was discharged to recover at home in bed where she spent many months, unable to walk.

“Through my window I saw the seasons changing month by month, watching the leaves on the trees change colour and fall off. Night and day I would spend so much time weeping with the most terrible nerve pain. At this time I was so ill that I though my number was up.”

Fortunately, Bobbie’s next operation relieved some of her pain and she started on the long road to recovery. With help from the Princess Royal Spinal Injury Unit, her new disability assistance dog Poppy and ongoing support from Jenny, Bobbie’s life improved a great deal as she became more mobile and independent. Bobbie was keen to take up a sport with Jenny so she could regain her strength and get physically and mentally fit again. They chose wheelchair sport dancing, a lively mix of spinning, twirling and sliding around the dancefloor on wheels.

“It was amazing. With expert coaching we soon learnt the waltz, quickstep and samba. When we quickstepped across the floor I felt like I was flying!”

Bobbie was enjoying life again but her heavy, robust wheelchair was proving clumsy on the dance floor. Bobbie said “It was like running a marathon wearing miners’ pit boots! I needed a proper lightweight dancing chair as I was now starting to take part in sport dancing competitions.”

Bobbie applied to Cavell Nurses’ Trust for funding to help pay for her dance wheelchair and she was over the moon to have it made to measure.

“Dancing in my lightweight specialist dance wheelchair is amazing. It’s so much quicker, turns on a sixpence and runs like a wild horse!”

It’s clear to Bobbie that wheelchair sport dancing has transformed her life and Cavell Nurses’ Trust was proud to be able to play a small part in getting Bobbie mobile and independent again and contributing to her physical – and mental – wellbeing.

“As nurses, we find it hard to accept that at times we need someone to help us too. I didn’t think there was any help for retired nurses but Cavell Nurses’ Trust helped me improve my life and give me my independence and self-respect back.”

“Whether you’re a working nurse or retired, if you’re in need just ask. The result can be life changing and lift a huge burden from your shoulders. As a carer, let someone else help and care for you.”

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