Our daughter Lara is twelve now. That happened in the blink of an eye. A couple of weeks ago she was in London on a school trip visiting the main tourist attractions with all her fabulous friends and teachers from her new school. Minnie and I were worried for them all because of the awful terrorist incidents recently. To that end before the trip there was a briefing for all the pupils addressing any concerns they might have. When asked if there were any questions Lara’s hand shot up. She looked genuinely concerned. “Will we be allowed ice cream?” she asked. Well that lightened the atmosphere a bit. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is one of the great lessons that life with Lara has taught us, but that in itself isn’t enough. There needs to be something more substantial behind it and that something is the Power of PSDS.
Minnie, Maia and I moved to the PSDS heartland from London in 2006. Lara was a year old, we were uncertain about how the pieces of our jigsaw were going to fit together and, if truth be told, we were still a little emotionally vulnerable about her diagnosis. Minnie is instinctively more social than I am and when she was offered the chance to attend a PSDS Saturday morning get together she advised me that it would be a good idea if I came! We never looked back. In joining PSDS we have become part of a community. We share our highs and lows, learn from others, give something back, value the power of togetherness and grow as people. In our vulnerability we found security and then strength. So the first ingredient in our PSDS power mix is a sense of belonging for all the family and that provides the foundation for everything else.
We all know that good things tend not to happen by accident. There is a structure to what we do at PSDS that enables us to move forward. Speech and Language, Occupational Therapy, Education days, drama, in school support, social events and a myriad of other PSDS led initiatives have given Lara the platform to flourish in primary and secondary school and set herself up for what we hope is a bright and fulfilling future. Without the services provided by PSDS, and the excellence of our team of professional supporters, we wouldn’t have known where to start. It is so important to have a sense of where one is heading and PSDS provides the route plan for the journey. To have regular access to the expertise that PSDS provides is a catalyst for so much. It’s empowering.
I’ve talked about the sense of belonging but that wouldn’t be possible without great people. We have our fabulous children and their siblings, our passionate and caring parents, our inspiring and committed team, our generous and engaged supporters but above all we have Vicky, Helen and Sarah the founders of PSDS and the heart and soul of the charity. I’ve been privileged as Chairman to watch “the three witches” in action and it is something to behold. They want the best for PSDS and are intelligent and able enough to realise their ambitions. Above all they love what they do and have brewed a heady potion which will power PSDS into the future.
These ingredients mix together to give PSDS an extraordinary positive energy. We are a vibrant charity. There is laughter, fun and celebration in all that we do. Even our logo bursts with colour! Our Big Summer Sleepover, This is Me exhibition, Quiz nights, Fun Days and myriad of other events capture that spirit and project it on to the wider world. There is a magnetism to PSDS that makes our wonderful supporters want to engage with us. PSDS provides us with security, then hope, then ambition and then strength. I feel so lucky to have been Chairman for the last ten years and look forward to my new role as Patron. PSDS is a force for good…how powerful is that!