Elaine Debenham has worked for West Midlands Fire Service for 17 years and she is currently their Health and Safety & Environment Manager. She has visited Harcombe House on three separate occasions, twice for recuperation and most recently for rehabilitation. As she explains, it has helped her and her family through some tough times.
‘’My work colleagues spurred me on to get in contact with the Charity,” she says. “They told me it’s brilliant. Some of them had been, so they could tell me all about it.
“I wasn’t sure if I would be accepted by the Charity and that there would be other people more deserving. My colleagues said, ‘just apply and they will make that decision, you don’t have to worry about that.’ So I applied to go in half term for recuperation with my family and we were accepted.”
“The Charity is a brilliant facility. You can’t get access to anything better. If you are in need of help, then definitely apply to see what they can do for you.”
Before her first visit for recuperation Elaine really didn’t know what to expect; “Once we were there it just felt very safe, friendly and warm. I have two children who are seven and ten. They went to the swimming pool every single night and although I couldn’t swim, it was great because they could get in the water with their Dad. They had an amazing time.
“It was good for me. It was lovely to have a change of scenery, as I was literally going to the hospital nearly every day and that’s all I would see. It was a breath of fresh air. The second time we visited it was the summer holidays and we actually got to stay in the same bungalow which was brilliant. We were all very happy as the kids knew what to expect.”
More recently, Elaine visited Harcombe House for rehabilitation for seven days. She says; “When my treatment finished, that’s when I thought I would apply for rehabilitation. I wanted to increase my general fitness. The physiotherapy I was receiving on the NHS had stopped and my arm and back were quite tight. I wanted to get a better range of movement. During my visit I made some really good progress and I now have more movement in my arm and back.”
Elaine also took advantage of the psychological services on offer; “At first I didn’t know what they could do, I thought I would be going over it all which felt pointless. But actually it really did work well. I came back a lot calmer and it helped me settle my thoughts.”
Concluding; Elaine explained “Now that I am home and on phased return to work, I have more strength and movement. It really motivated me to carry on and keep fit. I have started running and I keep up with some of the exercises I was given. I do Yoga and I have been able to increase the range of moves. It has really spurred me on to try and do more.”Share your story