This is the first of a number of blogs reflecting on my health challenges which began some months ago. I am so grateful to the NHS.

Unexpected journey image 1It all happened so quickly. I went to A&E with severe back-pain which was affecting my mobility. The NHS was outstanding. Within a dizzying few hours, I heard I would need an immediate MRI scan and possibly rods to support my spine. I dreaded the thought of going into the scanner, let alone the surgery.  As I was being wheeled along the corridor, Lauren, my Godson’s 11 year old daughter, came into my mind.

Lauren is a talented girl passionate about football. Just over a year ago, it was discovered that she had a growth at the base of the spine which would need radical treatment to prevent spinal curvature. She would also require rods in her back which could be regularly extended by surgery as she grew into adulthood. In addition, this eleven year old would be spending lonely hours in a soul-less scanner. Lauren is lovingly supported by her wonderful family and magnificently treated by NHS professionals, but while it can be shared, the load is ultimately hers to carry.  Parents bear the agony of powerlessness. In the middle of this painful dilemma, young Lauren is instinctively grabbing the God-given gift of abundant life which is for all and which lies at the heart of the Christian Faith: St. John’s Gospel reminds readers of it when Jesus Christ says, ‘I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.’ As we get older, less passionate and more cynical we can lose faith in this gift.  

Unexpected journey image 2As I was being taken to the radiology department, I realised that I was being strengthened and inspired by this young girl, six decades my junior, facing far greater challenges than me. This gift of life was being mediated through Lauren’s courage and was transforming my fears. Life may turn out differently from what we expect, but that does not restrict its abundance.

The young are an inspiration. It is the role of the older generation to ensure they can grow into the special people God has created them to be so that they can release the gifts they have for us all.

Thanks, Lauren.

Despite all she faces, Lauren continues to play football. She was thrilled to be at Wembley in July to watch England defeat Germany to win the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 tournament.

Second Image: ‘On the way to Wembley’ Daniel from Glasgow


  1. On TV earlier this pm Greta Thunberg vowing that to stand down from her huge environmental struggle can never be an option. And a group of damaged children committing to a high-profile practical campaign for other kids in great need: both chime with the inspirational Lauren effect. God bless them for their innocent power.

  2. I’ve missed your posts.
    Thank you for sharing your experience here
    One of the wonderful professionals who looked after me recently has the surname, Sanctuary. God is with you.
    And I look forward to the next blog.
    (Love the rainbow)

  3. Inspiring blog about an inspiring girl and how she inspired you, who in turn have inspired us.
    Thank you!

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