The days are getting shorter… Christmas cards are beginning to appear in the shops… it’s nearly winter. The time when we want to cuddle up on the sofa with our loved ones, and watch old films on TV or read stories.
I think the worst fright I’ve ever had as a parent was when my older son, then aged about twelve, reacted badly to a hay fever injection. This involved an 11km trip in an ambulance, blue light flashing and – when it reached town – siren wailing. And my child lying there shaking, an oxygen mask clamped over his face.
We were lucky. An hour or so later he was sitting up eating Children’s Hospital pizza, and that evening he was back home, complaining about his sore arm. We were able to say goodbye and thank you to the hospital staff, knowing that, all being well, we wouldn’t be back any time soon.
I can’t imagine what it must be like for those parents and children for whom a hospital visit is simply part of life. Although I’ve worked in many different hospitals and met hundreds of patients and relatives, I still don’t know how I’d cope with a serious illness in the family. Like cancer. Or cystic fibrosis.
So I was really pleased earlier this year when The Write Romantics asked me to contribute a story to Winter Tales, the winter-themed anthology they were publishing, proceeds going to The Teenage Cancer Trust and The Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
Cancer needs no introduction, but to see a young life cut off before it has properly started is hell for the family. And even if the tumour is defeated, they still live with the thought that it might come back…
Cystic Fibrosis is a horrible, lifelong disease affecting mainly the lungs and the digestive system. When I worked as a physio, CF kids were lucky to get into double figures. Nowadays if they’re lucky they can live into their forties… that’s forty-odd years of a serious, debilitating illness that you can’t forget for a single day.
So – if you’d like to help The Write Romantics support these trusts, and in the process treat yourself to a book of lighthearted winter stories (mine’s called ‘Something Blue’), here’s the link for kindle. A paperback version is available too. It would make a great Christmas present for all those difficult mums and aunties who already have everything else. I’ll be buying a few myself – please join me!
The party? That has been and gone now; the launch party for Winter Tales was Saturday afternoon (8th December). But the book is still waiting for lots and lots of readers!