26 May 2016
My Dad was diagnosed with the devastating genetic illness, Huntington’s Disease (HD), when he was in his early 50s. It was so hard to watch him deteriorate until he could no longer walk or wash or even feed himself.
I felt so helpless, my Mum and I, we tried so hard to care for him at home but it was becoming harder and harder because sadly Huntington’s Disease not only affects people physically, but also affects their personality.
Cared for in every way
My Dad’s moods became darker and more aggressive. Also his speech was failing so he was very hard to understand, which made him become more and more frustrated and we felt even more helpless. I had to find somewhere where he would really be cared for in every way.
The Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability (RHN) in Putney came to our rescue. My Dad was admitted very quickly and he settled in really well. It was such a weight off our shoulders. Our visits were happy times, pushing my Dad around the beautiful gardens in his new “super” wheelchair!
In the best hands
The nurses were an amazing support to all of us. Especially because shortly after my Dad was admitted to RHN, my Mum was diagnosed with cancer and sadly passed away not long after. I still don’t know how I would have coped without the help and support from the wonderful nurses at the RHN. I knew my Dad was in the best hands.
This awful disease, Huntington’s, is passed on from parent to child with each child having a 50/50 chance of inheriting it. I am the lucky one – I got the all clear. But heart breaking news, my younger sister didn’t, she had the disease too.
I tried so hard to look after her but it all became too much. The RHN were brilliant, they saw what I was going through and straight away arranged for my sister to go there too. I knew how well they were looking after my Dad so I felt my sister would really be helped too.
She settled in and became a bit more like her old self enjoying the many activities the RHN had to offer. She loved the gardens and went every Saturday to the main hall were concerts and films were shown.
Helping those in the future
I felt so grateful; I couldn’t have managed without the care and support the RHN were giving to my Dad and now to my sister.
I so wanted to say thank you but wasn’t sure how. Then one day it came to me: make a Will, make a donation in my Will and leave a legacy.
That’s what people had done in the past, which has so helped my family; I could do the same for people in the future. So I set about making my Will and it was so easy and straightforward.
I hadn’t realised how simple making a Will would be. It has made me feel so much better being able to say a huge big ‘thank you’ to the charity in this way.
Is there a cause you care about? Find a charity to leave a gift in your Will to
Katie Lindsay, Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability supporter