A decade after she became Vice Patron at The Disabilities Trust, sports commentator Gabby Logan reflects on our 40th anniversary.
“I met Rupert when I went to the opening of a Disabilities Trust home eight years ago. He was very lively and funny and had a lot to say. He was a virtuoso French Horn player and was set to be a top musician. But, at 18, he had a car accident and his brain no longer functioned in the way it used to. He needed care because he couldn’t do things for himself any more. But, on that day, and with the impressive and attentive care of The Disabilities Trust staff, he was very much a live wire.
Years later, I met Rupert’s sister Izzy, a violinist from the group Escala, when she asked me to be on her podcast. ‘I think you know my brother,’ she said, and I remembered Rupert. Izzy seemed very happy with how Rupert was. Meeting her made me think about how brain injuries affect a whole family. There’s a wider story behind the individual people that The Disabilities Trust take care of.
Advancing people’s life experiences
Rupert’s family’s story had parallels with my own family as I lost my brother Daniel when I was 19. I first got involved with The Disabilities Trust when the charity named Daniel Yorath House after my brother, who died in 1992. After my mum Christine Yorath became a trustee, and I started to become more well-known, the charity asked if I would become a Vice Patron in 2010.
I’ve visited lots of Disabilities Trust homes and met other people affected by brain injuries since then. I remember, for example, how emotional and moving it was to meet a mum in her late 20s who’d had a stroke. She couldn't use her arms or legs in any way and her whole body was struggling to come to terms with a new life. At the time, I had small children and it made me think how I would cope if that happened to me. One minute you're fine and the next, your body does that, and your life has changed forever.
I have always been really impressed by the care and setups I have seen at The Disabilities Trust homes I have visited. In some cases, the work is about rehabilitation, and in others, it's about long-term care. The staff I’ve met are very much at the edge of the profession in terms of bringing in new techniques and trying to advance the life experiences of the people they are working with.
The charity’s 40th anniversary is a great celebration of successive longevity. Without The Disabilities Trust, where would the people I have met go? If something catastrophically life- changing happens to you, an accident or a stroke, where do you go to be nurtured, looked after and brought back to independent life?
It’s not always possible for family members to do that job and often you couldn't do it at home because you need specific equipment and skills. That might be an adapted kitchen to support someone to make a cup of tea again, or to create occupational therapy situations.
The Disabilities Trust offers people a nice, comfortable environment, and a high-level of care, which is really important.
Looking ahead, I hope to see The Disabilities Trust continue to provide high-quality care and that the people they support continue to be treated with great respect.
I’d want family members like Rupert’s sister to be able to walk away at the end of their visit feeling really happy that their loved one is being cared for by The Disabilities Trust. I think if you have that feeling of comfort as a family member, that's enormously satisfying.
I hope to continue to be involved with The Disabilities Trust. My brother’s name lives on through Daniel Yorath House. His memory for us is never diminished but it’s a loving tribute to his short life.”
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