Managing a Rare Heart Condition
Pictured above: Leanne Yates
Dextrocardia is a rare heart condition that affects less than 1% of the population. It’s a congenital disease, which means it’s present at birth due to problems during fetal development.
There are different types of Dextrocardia that affect the body in various ways. In some cases, the heart is on the right-hand side of the body and flipped over, which is sometimes referred to as ‘mirror image’. In more severe cases, other organs in the body are also affected and positioned incorrectly.
Although it’s rare, if it’s only the heart which is impacted by mirror image, it can still function normally.
The causes of Dextrocardia are currently unknown, however, if other problems are apparent like lung and chest defects, it can have an impact on the way the heart develops.
Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) type II, otherwise known as Hunter Syndrome, is a rare condition that usually only affects males. According to the MPS Society, from 1992 to 2002, only 52 babies were born with the condition in the UK. It’s varied in its effects, which includes developmental delay and progressive physical problems.
Pictured above: Sally and her son D
Sally, 45, cares for her four-year-old son, D*, who has Hunter Syndrome. His symptoms mean that he requires regular treatment to minimise the effects of the disease, which is challenging for their family.
Sally regularly posts on her blog, which documents their journey to diagnosis and learning to live with MPS II.
Developing Social Skills through Interacting with Dogs
Anna, 41, is a full-time carer for her four children*, Jessica, 11, Claire, 10, Ben, 8, and Thomas, 15 months. She lives on the Devon coast with her partner, Hannah, 38. Two of their children have been diagnosed with autism, and they are at the Asperger’s end of the spectrum. Daily life can be challenging, but in February this year, everything changed when they adopted a dog called Rosie.
Studies have shown that children with autism respond positively to interacting with dogs, and it can help develop their social skills. Since Rosie has been the family, Anna’s children have learnt how to read body language, which has helped them prepare for social situations.
Family Fun for Everyone this Halloween
Penelope and Harry painting their pumpkin
For the majority of children, Halloween is a great time of year. What’s better than wearing fancy dress and getting handfuls of tasty sweets and chocolates?
But what about the children that have food allergies? Imagine having your stash of treats and goodies taken away from you because you could get seriously ill.
That’s where The Teal Pumpkin Project comes in. This fantastic project was launched by the Food Allergy Research and Education project (FARE) in the USA in 2014, and its aim is to make Halloween an occasion that everyone can enjoy. Families who take part offer non-food treats, so children with food allergies can enjoy the festivities with their friends. All you have to do is put a teal coloured pumpkin in your window to signify you have suitable treats for children with allergies.
The Gurkha Welfare Trust
Gurkhas are the fighting men of Nepal. For generations, they have fought with courage and loyalty alongside British soldiers. This tradition of service continues today.
Pictured above: 2nd Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles
Gurkhas first encountered the British in the Gurkha War of 1814 – 1816 which ended, not just in stalemate, but with an abiding sense of mutual respect between the two sides. The Peace Treaty that ended the war enabled Gurkhas to serve in the East India Company’s army which, in turn, became part of the British Army.
Skills Training for Disaffected Youths
Mark Chiswell and Dickon Pitt
Crowsmill Craft Centre is a Community Interest Company based in Shropshire. Dickon Pitt and Mark Chiswell co-founded the centre in 2013 after gaining a wealth of experience working in the charity sector.
They discussed their ideas with Shropshire Council and then spent eight months converting a disused barn into the centre where the projects, courses and activities take place. Dickon tells us that their aim is to give people the chance to learn new skills, meet new people and help their students to gain work experience or go onto further education.
Crohn’s disease is a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). It’s a life-long condition that causes inflammation of the digestive system.
The condition affects each person differently, and inflammation can occur in any part of the digestive system. The symptoms tend to differ depending on where the condition is active within the bowel and can range from feeling feverish to severe abdominal pain.
Caring for a Child with Autism
Pictured above: Ryan and Elaine
Autism is a condition that affects one in every 100 people in the UK, and there are varying symptoms across the autism spectrum. Autism can cause speech and language problems, learning difficulties, or in some cases above average intelligence. The condition can have a significant impact on the sufferer and the lives of affected families.
Elaine Pearce, 36, cares for her five-year-old son, Ryan, who has autism, epilepsy and hypermobility of the joints. Ryan’s complex health conditions mean that he needs constant care and attention.
Negative Effects of Stress and How to Manage It
Heart pounding? Sweating? Can’t concentrate? You may be suffering from excess stress levels. Stress is your body’s reaction to a situation or event, often known as the ‘fight or flight’ response, or to the feeling of being unable to cope with pressure.
In small amounts, stress can be helpful as it enhances our performance and can make us more alert, but excessive or prolonged amounts can lead to illness, physical and emotional exhaustion.
Changing Support System for Changing Needs
In December 2014, the Department of Health published changes to the care system. The Care Act came into effect in April 2015.
People are living longer than ever before, they enjoy a better quality of life and their care and support needs have changed.
These changing needs must be addressed by the care and support system.