Wednesday 13 February 2013

Get Alex Home

On Saturday I attended a charity ball for the Making Waves for Alex Fund.

It was an incredible night, full of emotion; tears and optimism.

It was the coming together of hundreds of people - many of whom had never met Alex Wood or his wife Tamsyn, but who had been touched by their story.

The story of a young husband and father, who's world has been shattered by a brain injury he suffered during a rugby game.  The story of how he has defied the odds, survived life-threatening injuries and operations, woken from a lengthy coma, how he is fighting every day to get stronger and more able.

A video montage was shown at the ball, and this explains it all better than I ever could. Please spare a couple of minutes to watch it here.

But this story is not only about what's happened so far.  It's about how Alex and Tamsyn and their four children are constantly kicked in the teeth by a failing system.

It's about what happens next.

Alex lives full time in a residential care home.  His injuries have left him blind, unable to walk and totally dependent on full-time care.  His family desperately want him home.  Alex desperately wants to be at home.

Nobody's disputing the excellent care he receives from the health service and the nursing staff.  But they don't love him like Tamsyn and the kids love him.  They can't light up that spark in his eye like I've seen Tamsyn does, simply by being there.

Is he going to get the encouragement and inspiration to get up and try and re-learn how to walk, left in his room for most of the day, or do you think it more likely he'd battle to get up from his chair to dance with his beautiful wife?  What do you reckon?

Is his management plan going to push him sufficiently, or is he more likely to achieve with a cheeky smile and a wicked glint in his eye that he got when Tamsyn unthinkingly used the expression: get him back 'up and running'?  He absolutely took that as a challenge!

He needs the care and love and support of his friends and family and he needs it now.  Research has shown that to make an impact, intensive rehabilitation and re-learning of basic skills needs to happen in the first two years.  What won't help him is to say in a residential institution where his day-to-day routine is punctuated merely by being fed his meals, being washed and dressed and meeting his basic needs.

Tamsyn is fighting tooth and nail to get her husband home, but their home is not suitable and needs to be adapted.

This is where it all falls down.  The family are living in rented accommodation.  They cannot afford anywhere else.  The system will not pay for adaptations to rented homes.  Yet they say they don't have anything else suitable.

Here's where this situation needs some common sense.  The government are constantly talking about budget cuts, spending smarter and austerity measures.  Well, this is a situation that makes no financial sense whatsoever.

It is costing a fortune to keep Alex in the residential home.  A place where he doesn't want to be.  His wife wants to care for him.  And guess what, she wants to do it full-time, unpaid, with no annual leave, no pension, no sick pay, no uniform, no training courses... How does this make any sense?

This wife and mother is doing what any one of us would do.  She is fighting for her family, for what's best for her husband.  At the moment he is only allowed minimal home visits.  At the very least, she would like him home every weekend until a more sustainable solution is found - even though their hearts break a little bit more every time he has to leave.

Are we going to let this mother fight on her own?  Or are we going to raise the bloody roof, make some noise, lobby politicians, raise funds and stand shoulder to shoulder with her until someone sees sense?


If you can, make a donation to the Making Waves for Alex Fund or buy a T Shirt to promote the message.
Share this and any other post you see labelled #getalexhome or #makingwavesforalex
Follow Tamsyn on Twitter and via her blog and let her know she's not alone.

Please. Let's make some waves.

Thanks to Sophie for permission to use her photos.


  1. Great post Liz, I couldn't make the ball but I have ordered a t-shirt and as we all know every penny counts

  2. A fabulous post Liz made me cry am off to buy a T-shirt

  3. Oh my word, I'm crying again, those images are so powerful of the love they have, the words you have used...lets get him home where he belongs xxx

  4. Fantastic post. Will share :)

  5. Great post and what an inspiration they both are. It moved me to act!

  6. Great post Liz and will definitely share. What an inspiration

  7. Fantastic post. I have spent part of today trying to do what can to help to get Alex home. Bought a Tshirt too. Hope it is big enough to last me throughout my pregnancy..want to wear it a lot when out!

  8. Lovely post Liz. I hope we can make a difference. x

  9. Great post Liz. I bought a Tshirt a few mths back and I often get asked about it whenever I wear it. Hoping Tamsyn gets Alex home real soon x

  10. Very well said - an excellent description of the situation and the idiocy of continuing like this.