As I get older I feel a compulsion to be something other than a good daughter, a wife, and a mother. I just feel I need to leave a greater footprint.
I’ve been looking for something for a while. There are so many issues in our world and indeed in our own backyard that need addressing, but what can I help with from my wheelchair? It’s difficult for me to volunteer with tree planting as there’s a good chance I’ll fall out of my chair and cause more problems then I’d be solving! I can’t find Wellies that fit me and my wheels would get stuck in the mud anyway. Imagine if you like, other volunteers having to pick me up off the ground, just not worth it.
People run marathons for charity, but an electric wheelchair is cheating. Twenty years ago I asked my GP if he thought it would be okay for me to do a tandem parachute jump. He surprisingly said ‘No’, I could have been happy strapped to a fit young parachute instructor, but this was before the symptoms of MS began to place their grip on my life. Symptoms now like trigeminal neuralgia prevent me being in drafts and I think that falling out of the sky is a bit of a draft. Likewise bungee jumping or abseiling are off the agenda.
Homelessness in this country is on the rise and should be something that we’re all aware of. If I have a roof over my head and food in the cupboard, warmth and company I can’t want for more. There are people who won’t enjoy a Christmas dinner and will just be grateful to have a dry sleeping bag on the 25th. How can I help them? Food poverty is huge. I’m hearing that Food Banks are on the increase in every town and families are having to choose between food and heating this Christmas. This makes me feel very angry and guilty, I feel angry because this is the 21st Century and no one should be struggling, especially children. I have so much but need so little. Every parent loves their child and would give their all but in many cases this is so difficult.
Globally, our dependence on plastics polluting our oceans, our decimation of rain forests in order to feed cattle to feed ourselves most of whom are already overweight, and I include myself in this. Have you ever tried to buy something that doesn’t contain palm oil? We do not need all of this, our population is already increasing throughout the world and we’re not doing anything about it, neither can we feed them all.
I don’t want to be ‘doom and gloom’ at this time of the year. I love Christmas and having my family and my grandchildren around me is everything to me. I can’t tell you how this feels and fills my heart just to anticipate it, so I’ve made a decision. I can’t do something about everything, but I can help in my own little corner of the world. From January I intend to make a Food Bank donation of one weekly grocery delivery each month. I have got my local supermarket onboard with me and even if this doesn’t become a widespread campaign across the country, at the very least I know I am doing something. I don’t need to shout about it from the rooftops, but this is my own little way of giving back.
Happy Christmas everyone!