Hand and Heart provide charity to a Stroke Unit

Now they say that charity begins at home, the essence of that phrase interprets as ‘a person’s first responsibility is for the needs of their own family and friends’, well in the case of Hand and Heart Lodge No 4109 this was certainly true.

Pictured from left to right, are: Eddie Wilkinson, Tom Greenhalgh, Wendy Markham and Ezra McGowan.

After suffering a devastating and debilitating stroke, family member and sister of WM Eddie Wilkinson’s wife Jeanette, Doreen was immediately admitted to the Stroke Unit of Fairfield General Hospital, Bury. Doreen was essentially under care at the specialist unit for a period of three months.

She was provided exceptional care by the nursing and doctor teams, and the family endured some very worrying times along the slow progress of recovery.

Exceptional care has already been mentioned none so much as activity classes given to the patients by Activities Co-ordinator Wendy Markham, a special lady with in excess of 25 years’ experience working with stroke patients and in fact, as she states, a former stroke patient herself.

During Eddie’s visits to the hospital to see his sister-in-law, a clear awareness was given on just how important Wendy’s pro-active activities were towards the patients, the everyday things you just do without even considering such as reaching to pick up an item, co-ordination of movement in general, trying to write again, communication skills, and thinking about the method to solve a simple problem were clearly demonstrated.

The Stroke Garden.

An important factor of assisting in stroke recovery is a positive attitude, hard work and more importantly, a re-learning process of those every day simple activities we all do without even thinking about it.

Wendy’s activity classes which are aimed toward those patients in starting that brain re-learning and co-ordination process, something she had learnt through her own previous experience, from Eddie’s family perception certainly gave the patient’s a feeling of positivity and achievement.

So how does Wendy look to achieve this? Well it can be group exercise routines, movies, board and card games, afternoon teas, and for those that may have been less debilitated or less effected, perhaps arts and craft, baking, gardening in a selected area of the hospital cordoned specifically for stroke patients to enjoy perhaps on a sunny warm day, in fact anything to get back to and give a feeling of assisted normality.

Wendy explaining the Activities Co-ordination role to Ezra.

It was discovered that the activities co-ordination funds’ assets by way of an endowment fund and fundraising is how they exist.

During a lodge meeting WM Eddie put forward a presentation to the brethren and visitors of Hand and Heart Lodge that it was his wife’s wish to prove some much needed support to that fund, after a night of lodge fun and frivolity there was no hesitation in the lodge and visitors totalling an incredible amount of £340.

Eddie and fellow group officer, lodge DC Ezra McGowan visited the hospital department to present Wendy and charge nurse Tom Greenhalgh of the department with the much the needed charitable donation. Wendy said: “I and the department are overly pleased in receiving the donation and that we are excited to be able to purchase a new device that would enable patients to play an electronic group game where patients would need to think and respond.”

Hospital corridor leading to the stroke unit.

Story and Photographs by Eddie Wilkinson

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