Telling our stories can help us to come to terms with the past and the things that have shaped our lives. They allow us to re-live wonderful memories and to make meaning out of our pain.
People come to us when they or their loved ones have suffered an unexpected illness or injury and they need help and support as they enter a new chapter of their lives. As we work closely with our clients and learn their stories they continue to inspire, amaze and surprise us.
From 30 January to 6 February 2021 we took part in National Storytelling Week, by introducing you to three of our clients whose stories are so special that they’ve immortalised them by publishing their very own books. My name is Josiah
Marc and Lotti were living in Sedgley at the time of their eldest son’s birth in January 2009. Their son, Josiah, was starved of oxygen after a heart rate monitoring machine was turned off for 100 minutes during Lotti’s labour.
Josiah, whose heart rate had decelerated five times before the machine was turned off, was born without any pulse and had to be resuscitated. He was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy, has learning and speech difficulties and is wheelchair reliant.
Lotti said: “What should have been the happiest time of our lives was awful. The labour was really distressing. As soon as Josiah was delivered he was taken away to be resuscitated. At first Marc and I were completely in the dark.
“Seeing Josiah afterwards in the special care baby unit while being told he may still die was heart-breaking. During my pregnancy Marc and I had pictured so many times what it would be like meeting Josiah for the first time. What we had hoped for was nothing like the reality.”
His parents contacted us to investigate the care he received and we were able to secure an undisclosed settlement, which will fund the specialist life-long support, care and therapies Josiah requires. Our specialist solicitor, Lindsay Tomlinson, started working with Lotti and Marc in 2010; 18 months after their son sustained the birth injury that would change their lives forever.
Lindsay explained: “I can still remember the day I called Lotti to tell her that the Defendant had admitted liability. She burst into tears which made me well up too, and neither of us could speak.
“The interim damages payments the family received allowed them to access a case manager, carers, and get the equipment and support Josiah needed. We worked together professionally, and got to know each other personally.”
Marc and Lotti have now produced a book called ‘My name is Josiah’, which tells their son’s story from his perspective. It charts Josiah’s life so far and the challenges he faces and why. The family hope the book will be used in mainstream schools to teach children about how young people with disabilities are just like them and enjoy doing the same things. We’re overjoyed to be able to support the family with the printing and to help raise awareness of such a fantastic book.
Lotti said: “Coming to terms with what the future holds for Josiah has been difficult but we feel so blessed that he’s our son. “He’s an adorable little boy with an infectious smile who enjoys things all children do such as playing with friends and singing. We’re just a normal family who go on days out and go to the park.
“Our lives are dedicated to helping Josiah. He’s making amazing progress at a conductive education school.”
Lindsay added: “Supporting people like Lotti, Mark and Josiah is a complete privilege for me.” Grandad Wheels
In 2013 Brian suffered a bike accident, which left him T9 paraplegic and a full-time wheelchair user. After this life changing incident Brian turned to storytelling to help raise their awareness of issues surrounding disability in general and wheelchair users in particular.
His comical tales are aimed at primary school age children and tell of Brian’s silly adventures with his grandson Charlie. And the main message is simple – being disabled is no barrier to having fun, even if you need a wheelchair to get around.
His first book, ‘Charlie’s Big Idea!’ was launched with the support of our Leeds office in 2019 and all proceeds from the sales were donated to the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) and Back Up. Both these charities work to improve the lives of people who’ve suffered a spinal injury. They helped Brian enormously during the year he spent in Pinderfields Spinal Unit.
Brian has gone on to launch another book which was also illustrated by local artist Lynne Hickin, and continues to follow the exploits of Charlie and his grandad, called ‘Chaos at Cheapfoods!’.
We’re proud to have been able to sponsor both of Brian’s books so far and we’re very much looking forward to sponsoring his third book 'Grandad Goes for Gold!', which will also feature our ambassador and Team GB Gold medal winning Paralympian, 'Hurricane Hannah' Cockroft.
Find out more about Brian’s story books here and while conventional bookshops are closed due to lockdown you’re able to purchase them directly from grandadwheels.com. Cancer and Pisces
Our client, Mick has penned and released a book, ‘Cancer and Pisces’, which charts the father-of-six’s life and his diagnosis-defying years of survival against mesothelioma – seven years after being given his terminal diagnosis. Intertwined with his love of fishing, the book also tells of the 61-year-old’s determination to seek justice for his asbestos exposure, that lead to the successful conclusion of one of the most complex cases our London legal team had ever brought.
Former city banker Mick was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a highly aggressive form of terminal cancer linked to exposure of asbestos, at the age of just 54 in May 2013. Conventional wisdom gave Mick, from west London a bleak prognosis of just months to live with no prospect of treatment to cure his illness. Following diagnosis, Mick instructed us to investigate how he came into contact with the substance.
The settlement allowed Mick to continue his life-prolonging treatment, including being the first mesothelioma patient to receive the skin cancer drug Vismodegib to treat his condition. The fact his tumour concerned the PTCH1 ‘hedgehog’ gene more commonly found in skin cancers was an opportunity to discover if it would work on an asbestos-related cancer too.
Mick said: “The realisation following diagnosis comes in a cascade of emotion rather than a bombshell and when the doctor suggested my wife join us, saying something like ‘it’s often better on this sort of occasion’, you think, Good Lord, this must really be serious.”
Mick and his wife, Jill, had never heard of mesothelioma prior to his diagnosis and, having been advised by other solicitors that they were unable to help, Mick made contact with our legal asbestos specialist, Joanne Jefferies.
Mick said: “I was told at the outset that my case would be a huge challenge with no similar cases from the building previously identified. Then I found out one of the most senior QC’s in the land had advised my case couldn’t be pursued successfully.
“It’s to the very great credit of my solicitors that they disregarded this advice. They believed in me, invested in me and shared all the risks. I shall always be grateful for their commitment to the cause.”
Mick’s main aim was to see his 60th birthday. He would have to defy the odds to do so, but a dream came true with a very special party on 29 June 2018, when Jill organised a gathering with 160 friends to mark the occasion.
Mick was persuaded to put pen to paper by former cabinet minister, Jonathan Aitken. He suggested and encouraged the project, pushing Mick to seek a publisher and contributing the foreword to a book Mick describes as a love-letter to his wife and children.
Cancer and Pisces is available from Amazon and other outlets. Royalties from sales of the book will go to Cancer Research UK.
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We hope the above has inspired you to keep sharing your stories - you never know, your story could be exactly what someone else needs to hear.
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