Please introduce yourself and explain how you came to be supported by SecretANGELS?
My name is Heather, I was very unwell and went into hospital twice. When I was finally discharged and came back home, a lovely lady, who was part of the team put in place to help me, referred me and my situation to SecretANGELS. I was completely unaware of the SecretANGELS organisation at that time and was delighted when they promptly contacted me.
From the telephone conversation we had, I could tell they were different, but in a good way. When you are vulnerable it is very tempting to put your guard up. Especially in having to let people know about your life and situation. We don’t know if their caring is genuine and of course we don’t know what is going to happen.
From the very first encounter over the phone, A SecretANGEL was arranged to visit me at my home. She was very, very friendly, professional, knowledgeable and understanding. She helped me to see how SecretANGELS could support me to live a life worth living. I came to know other SecretANGELS (Personal Assistants) as my support progressed. They have made such a positive impact in my life I will always remember them. To this day I am receiving support that goes way above and beyond.
The little things they do really make a difference, as little as a phone call to really show they care. They also do big things, very big things that I could not have done on my own, it just wouldn’t have been possible. Apologies, I can get quite emotional because without SecretANGELS I wouldn’t be able to give this testimony. I am so very grateful, not just for me, but for my family. I have three sons, the youngest happens to know a family member of one of the SecretANGELS team. It can be such a small world and it was nice that I could share this experience with my son and SecretANGELS because without this situation, they would just be friends. Now SecretANGELS are part of my home, they truly are.
Could you please share with us how SecretANGELS helped you personally? And only if you feel comfortable, could you describe your condition so we could get a better understanding of it?
I was diagnosed with a very rare syndrome. It is called Guillain-Barré Syndrome. I had never heard of it before, even after many years working within the health industry. There I was, now disabled not entirely knowing what to do. All four of my limbs have muscle wastage. I now struggle with simple tasks. I struggle to write, to walk and I am evidently housebound. When SecretANGELS came on board I was so grateful. They brought me food, food that I could just eat without having to get up and prepare anything. As I said it’s the small things that make the difference. (They brought me food weekly, and on some occasions my cultural food, fully prepared!)
There has been a lot of paperwork as a result of having this illness. I am able to speak, just how I am speaking with you, even though I can get tired at times. SecretANGELS were so patient with me and were able to understand what I was saying and support me with articulating my needs to other professionals, so that I could fill out the endless forms. They even posted them for me. I have a great amount of trust for the team at SecretANGELS. I have also had significant results from the organisations that SecretANGELS have recommended to support me with my debts.
What SecretANGELS do is unique. There are some things that are required, not just to survive, but to keep life going on. Not just with writing and encouragement. Take Christmas time, any normal family would be able to go out and do their regular Christmas shopping. I am a single parent, I just couldn’t do it, SecretANGELS helped. Cleaning is extremely important to me. I had help from a male ANGEL called Nigel. He did a wonderful job with cleaning my home, but not just with cleaning, he even rearranged our electrical appliances to accommodate my mobility aids and the new fridge, freezer donated by SecretANGELS. We had to rearrange my home so that I can have access and communicate with the world. Nigel is a very pleasant gentleman.
Another ANGEL, Angela is her name, understood that as a woman, I take pride in my appearance, however due to the illness I haven’t been able to do my own hair. Angela offered to take me to get my hair done. I am yet to go as I just do not have the confidence at this moment in time. Having said that, as the weather is getting warmer, I am feeling a lot more positive, so I do believe in the future I will take up Angela’s offer. (UPDATE – I have now had my hair done and it feels GREAT!)
How long have you been supported by SecretANGELS?
I came out of hospital early August, so about 8 – 9 months.
I can tell you have a special relationship with SecretANGELS as you get emotional when you speak about your experience, I can see you care about the team very deeply. It is beautiful to see. This brings me to my final question. How has your life changed for the better since being supported by SecretANGELS? And if you could say something to the team right now what would you say?
Being supported by SecretANGELS has allowed me to retain my independence, in my own home. Since leaving the hospital at the beginning of August last year, I have not been back. Everything that has happened on a day to day basis, I know I have support if I need it. I know that all I need to do is pick my phone and call SecretANGELS. I can ask my son to text SecretANGELS and I know that they will get back to me and help will come. I have that reassurance that they will be there for me.
As women we need very important items to be able to live comfortably. You know what I am talking about. Without these items, it would be a disaster. I have 3 sons, ideally, I don’t want them worrying about things like that for me. SecretANGELS asked me what and when these items were needed. They then supplied them for me and helped me to maintain my dignity. Something so simple, but also very important, if you are a female. There was no hesitation, I am so grateful!
Things like that make me think, thank God for SecretANGELS.
The name SecretANGELS is so befitting for what they do. They truly are ‘ANGELS’. It’s the personal things, the attentiveness, the person-centred approach that are just so truly wonderful. Thank you for going above and beyond with what you have done. I wish to carry on being supported by SecretANGELS, I wish to be able to give my time to support SecretANGELS. They have done such a wonderful job. They have taught me a lot. How human beings can be so caring at a time of need. Thank you!