Andy's Story

Andy Blagden is a young man, married to Charlotte and has 3 children; Lauren, Katie and Nathan. (The children were 12, 9 & 2.5 years old at the time of diagnosis).
Andy was diagnosed with a tumour in his spinal cord in June 2013. The tumour was at spinal level Cervical 3 going down to Thoracic 2 (C3-T2). This is incredibly high up the neck and the only option was to operate. This in itself was not without risk but after a 15-16 hour operation the tumour had been removed. The outlook was good. Then Andy became ill....
Early September Andy contracted pneumonia and then sepsis, Andy's kidneys then failed and he was put on constant dialysis for a month and required a blood transfusion during this time.
Andy came through all this but he now lives with the consequences; paralysed from the shoulders down and unable to breathe without ventilatory support, this is his ongoing story of rehabilitation with the goal of getting back home to his family and his future.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Decorating chaos, part 1

Well, it's all change at home now! The building is well under way now with the corner rafters going up yesterday and gable ending being done, decisions being made over kitchen design, flooring being decided, tiles starting to be thought about and colour schemes being mulled over. 

In the process of all these decision the kids are having their own decisions to make as they are all having bedroom makeovers. We live in 3 bed semi and before we had Nathan the girls used to share and we had an office, once we had Nathan, and Lauren was 10, we decided that the girls needed splitting up and Nathan would eventually move out our room. So Lauren had a room of her own (the office) and Nathan and Katie shared a room with bunks, since he was 2. Now we are having a new bedroom and the kids can all have their own room. Nathan and Lauren are moving rooms and all 3 are being redecorated.
This, I've decided, needs to be done before downstairs gets knocked through. My reasons for this are because I believe that no matter how adjusted we are to the care team at Andy's bungalow, they are still not a part of our everyday life at home and when that becomes reality it has a potential to be quite tricky. So I thought if the kids have a room of their own, decorated, made how they want it to be so its their own domain they will have somewhere 'safe' to go when they are fed up of being downstairs. 
BUT this has caused chaos for me, my room has Lauren's stuff in it in boxes now and is also the dumping ground for everything out of Katie's room whilst we completely gut the rooms out and, essentially, start again.
BUT, with the help of all my family and good friends we have now completed Nathan's room and are getting ready to complete Katie's room with only the finishing touches for both of them to be done. To say I was excited yesterday was an understatement. I couldn't stop beaming from ear to ear. Also it was like poetry in motion watching (and participating) everyone getting on with what needed doing. The in-laws, my sis and BIL and our friends were all stripping wallpaper, polyfilling, taking furniture down, sanding down etc whilst my mum was doing the ever-so-important job of keeping people topped up with tea or coffee, biscuits and sandwiches. It turned out this job was an almost constant round of making drinks, collecting cups, washing up and then making tea again - she did a sterling job! She then also took Nathan out to buy curtains and then installed them too.
Nathan's room looks so good, I'm so pleased with how it turned out and how we all pulled together for a common cause. And most importantly, we have a very happy little boy who, for the first time in his young life, has a room of his own.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Andy in the Kitchen!

Andy has various therapies daily to either maintain him or to push him onwards. His key worker decided that she would try him with holding things in his hand so he can practise gripping. So he was supported to hold a kitchen knife and chop vegetables for a dinner date we were having.
As it turned out he is able to grip the knife and put enough pressure through his wrist to chop vegetables and then to pick them up and put them into the saucepan.
He is also able to pick up finger foods and get them in his mouth, though this isn't accurate yet and so he ends up with more food given to allow for any losses - of course if he doesn't drop any he gets more food!!
Its very exciting to see these improvements not only because it defies what was told to us in the earlier, harrowing days but also because it gives Andy more purpose, a sense of achievement, of completing something useful, for himself as well as for the family.

Saturday, 6 February 2016


I have started a new blog where I can detail what's going on with the extension and in a separate place to this blog so that its easier to view. Its called 'lets get Andy home' and the address is

I'm hoping to get it shortened to be a bit snappier than it currently is but in the meantime you can look over to the right and find the link for it and click on that instead.
I hope it's a good place to visit and it gives you a sense of what's being achieved as it's down to you guys and your generous financial support that we've got where we've got to so far.