Your support in actionSusan's Story

Susan's life was turned upside down

Susan's Story

I have had a lot of disasters in my life but once I reached rock bottom I realised the only way was up, and I am so grateful to Cavell Nurses' Trust for helping me get started

Life could not have been more cruel to Susan who began training as a nurse with the Royal Navy in 1970. Susan devoted nearly 30 years to her nursing career while also bringing up her family and decided to take early retirement at the age of 50.

It was not long after this that Susan discovered that her husband had been leading a double life with another woman. After a year spent trying to make the relationship work, Susan was subjected to physical, emotional and psychological abuse at the hands of her husband.

"The tension escalated to the point where he physically attacked me. He actually headbutted me three times in front of the window and people outside saw it and called the police.

"My husband was arrested for grievous bodily harm and I was removed from the property to a refuge the following morning.

"That was when I reached rock bottom."

To make matters worse, at 60 years of age, Susan had lost everything. But following the help of Cavell Nurses' Trust, she has emerged from the dark place she found herself in to completely turn her life around.

The Trust was able to provide Susan with a single grant of £400 to buy much-needed goods for her flat, but also awarded a grant of £30 a week for 12 months to help her make ends meet.

She said: "You can't believe the difference that this has made to my life.

"Because I have a very small NHS pension I wasn't entitled to benefits apart from help with my rent and council tax. But, now with this grant from Cavell I can keep my head above water."

Susan was rehomed into her one bedroom flat in Birmingham in July 2011 after spending three months at the crisis centre, but had lost everything.

"I arrived at my flat last summer with nothing, absolutely nothing, just the clothes I stood up in and a suitcase.

"You could have knocked me off my feet with a feather when they awarded me this money."

She is now planning to start a degree through the Open University and is also looking for consultancy work, possibly in nursing.

Susan sums up her situation by saying: "I have had a lot of disasters in my life but once I reached rock bottom I realised the only way was up, and I am so grateful to Cavell Nurses' Trust for helping me get started."

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