Whilst trundling down the country at not-particularly-high speeds I had a lot of time to think about why the RHN (Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability) matters to me so much. Yes it’s helping Danny of course and giving something back for that feels natural, but for me there’s something more to it than that.
Firstly, the atmosphere there is totally different to any other hospital. Being independent from the NHS does make a big difference because it doesn’t seem to feel bogged down in bureaucracy and policy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a staunch supporter of the NHS and the Princess Royal Hospital in Bromley saved Danny’s life for which we’re eternally grateful. It’s the simple things though. For instance, there is a patient smoking room attached to the main building. If this were an NHS facility you can bet your life that someone, somewhere, would have made it their mission to remove that facility and force the patients and residents to wheel themselves out to a shelter at least 6 meters from the nearest door, whereas the impression I got straight away was that someone at the RHN said “the people here have it hard enough as it is without forcing them to go cold turkey or brave the elements”. Whilst their services could exist elsewhere, the atmosphere just wouldn’t be the same if it were part of the NHS.
Secondly, what happened to Danny has made me realise that each and every one of us is a lot more vulnerable than we’d perhaps like to think. At the risk of sounding very depressing we’re potentially only an illness or a moment’s lapse of concentration resulting in a car accident from needing the support of an organisation like the RHN. It’s not a particularly altruistic motive I know, but I want to support them (and other organisations like the Anthony Nolan trust for instance) because I feel a lot better knowing that they’re there and they’re in good shape in case I’m ever the one who needs their help.
If you haven’t already donated please spare a couple of quid to support what is a great organisation doing a great job. I’ll do a write up of my experiences of the moped ride itself in the next few days!