Friday 28 September 2018

Happy 70th Birthday to the NHS. Thank You, for keeping me alive. Raynaud's, Scleroderma: Rare Autoimmune Disease.

Happy 70th Birthday to the NHS. 
Scleroderma, Raynaud's, Autoimmune Rare Disease. 

#RaynaudsFreeWorld #SclerodermaFreeWorld  

Happy 70th Birthday to the NHS. Thank You, for keeping me alive.

On the 5th July 2018, over here in the UK, the National Health Service (NHS), celebrated its 70th year from when it was started, by the then Health Secretary, Nye Bevan.

‘For the first time, hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, opticians and dentists were brought together under one umbrella to provide services for free at the point of delivery’. History

I am eternally grateful to the NHS for keeping me alive, and, for the excellent standard of care, which I continue to receive.

I truly believe that without the NHS, I would not have survived the aggressive onset and progression of disease which I experienced during my diagnosis, and the following years, until my disease activity became stable. 

The Royal Free Hospital, 27.9.17

Furthermore, I remain overjoyed that my ‘skin is cured from scleroderma’, having not been able to stretch my arms, in 1997, due to the extreme skin tightness.  

However, my daily reality is that it is a full time job for me to manage my symptoms. 

Which, even on the hottest of summer days, brings along many challenges, as well as, Raynaud’s attacks, due to any temperature decrease, regardless of the resulting temperature being ‘warm’. 

Hottest day of 2013

Thankfully, my symptoms are currently stable. I have regular monitoring appointments. 

These include annual heart and lung tests. which are carried out at my local hospital, here in Southport.

I am now living with the damage which, the disease at its most active, caused.  

Ultimately, I know that I am a lucky scleroderma survivor. Even though, the disease has removed many facets of my life which I enjoyed, as well as, forcing my inner ‘Bond Girl’ to abscond into oblivion. 

However, due to my early-ish diagnosis, followed up by the world class care I received, and, continue to receive from the Scleroderma Unit at The Royal Free Hospital, combined with my local NHS providers, here I am, living the dream as a ‘scleroderma parrot’- obsessed with the dream of a Scleroderma Free World, along with a Raynaud’s Free World, becoming a reality.

My experience prompted me to profile patients from around the world, for my Scleroderma Awareness Month 2017 and 2018 campaigns. INDEX.   

I have detailed more about my patient experience and journey, on Day 12 of my global patient profiles campaign, for Scleroderma Awareness Month 2018.  

I am extremely grateful to all of the patients who have kindly shared their experience for awareness purposes, as well as, I owe huge thanks to the families of the patients whom, sadly, have died from the disease.  


The conclusions of which, showed that for optimum patient care, 3 hallmarks preside:

supported by a medicaldream team’ 
(expert specialist as the clinical lead).

Where, investment in medical research is crucial, to improve the day to day reality, as well as, the long term outlook for the entire global scleroderma community.

Although as scleroderma patients we are relatively few in number, 2.5 million worldwide, the small sample of patients included within my global patients profile campaign show that, there are many unmet clinical needs, which patients have in common:  


CALCINOSIS, Click here  




SOFT TISSUE, ULCERS, Click here    








RAYNAUD'S, Click here   



Although these unmet needs are not immediately life threatening, they cause havoc with the day to day quality of each patient’s life.  
An investment in medical research will most certainly improve the currently ‘soul destroying’ reality, these unmet clinical needs bring.

In 2015, I was honoured to become a patient voice on the NHS England advisory group for Specialised Rheumatology.

In this role, I am totally blown away by the commitment and dedication shown by the medics involved, to improving the service which the NHS has to offer in this medical speciality.

I feel particularly honoured to have been a patient voice, on the NHS England policy for the management of digital ulcers, published July 2015.   

Fellow patient Miss Universe, me, Christine and Lauren from NIHR team

I am also very honoured to have become a Patient Research Ambassador for the National Institute of Health Research, the research side to the NHS. Video.   

Due to the systemic involvement of my diffuse scleroderma, I am known to many of the different medical specialities included within the NHS umbrella. 

For optimum best practice and care, a medical ‘dream team’ is paramount, with an expert specialist as the clinical lead. 

I am truly grateful for my medical ‘dream team’, made possible and available to me, by the world class leading healthcare system, the NHS.  

Prof Denton and I, Sept 2017

Dr Kevin Howell (Raynaud's world trailblazer) 

Dr Sykes, Consultant Rheumatologist Southport Hospital, August 2017.

Andrea, Southport Hospital Pharmacist, August 2017

Thank You, NHS. 
Happy 70th Birthday. 

For latest updates follow: 


Facebook Page:
Twitter: @SclerodermaRF  @RaynaudsRf  

#SclerodermaFreeWorld           #RaynaudsFreeWorld  

Living the dream, scleroderma style.   



Please DONATE to help fund medical research at The Scleroderma Unit, The Royal Free Hospital, London.  


100% of your monies will be used for medical research purposes only. No wages or admin costs. Thank You.



An edited version of this article, Click here, was published in my Column with Scleroderma News. July 2018. 


Scleroderma Family Day 2020

25th Anniversary Meeting

The Atrium, Royal Free Hospital, London, NW3 2QG

Chair: Professor Chris Denton


09.30 – 10.00           Registration and Coffee

10.00 – 10.20           Welcome                                                   Dame Carol Black
                                                                Prof Chris Denton & David Abraham

10.20 – 10.40           What is a Biopsy?                                    Dr Kristina Clark

10.40 – 11.05           Dental aspects of Scleroderma            Prof Stephen Porter

11.05 – 11.25           Gastrointestinal problems –                       Dr Fiza Ahmed
shedding new light on old problems 

11.25 – 11.50           Pulmonary hypertension and the heart Dr Gerry Coghlan

11.50 – 12.15           Scleroderma cohort studies –                  Dr Francesco 
                                 ‘Learning from our patients’                     del Galdo

12.15 – 14.15           LUNCH BREAK – see below  

14.15 – 14.45           25 years of progress –                          Prof Chris Denton
from ‘black box’ to ‘positive trials’

14.45 – 15.15           International speaker –                            Dr Madelon Vonk
                                 Scleroderma Management in Netherlands

15.30                        Raffle

Lunchtime Discussions Groups / Demonstrations include:

Clinical Trials                                                                  Rachel Ochiel and team
National Institute of Health Research                            Christine Menzies
Drug Information / monitoring                                        Pharmacy
Massage                                                                         Keith Hunt MBE
Pulmonary Hypertension Education / nursing            Sally Reddecliffe/Adele Dawson
Rheumatology Laboratory                                          Research Laboratory Staff
Scleroderma Education / Nursing                          Louise Parker/ Joseph Cainap
Thermography                                                                Dr Kevin Howell
SRUK                                                                             Ollie Scott
Sjogren’s syndrome                                                       British Sjogren’s Society 

To Read My Articles:  

Gift in My Will, Click here 

Planning for the Future, Click here  


Rare Disease Day:   

Rare Disease Day 2020:  


Listen to my interview with John Smeeton, (Silver Fox), from the Royal Free Radio, here  


Raise awareness and donate to medical research, order your #SclerodermaFreeWorld #RaynaudsFreeWorld tshirt  here   

Rare Disease Day 2020: NIHR 'Research gives hope to Rare Disease patients', Click here  


Rare Disease Day 2019: Leaving a Legacy Gift, Click here       

Rare Disease Day 2019: 11am 97.4RockFM headlines, NO CURE, Click here  

Rare Disease Day 2018 – Research, Taking Part in Clinical Trials. Scleroderma, Raynaud's, Autoimmune Rare Disease, Click here     

2017 Rare Disease Day Medical Research  

2016 Rare Disease Day Patient Voice   

2016 Rare Disease UK Parliamentary Reception       


Rare Disease Day is a fantastic opportunity for the entire rare disease community to shine a spotlight on their reality, combining as one unified voice. Where, at least one commonality presides –  
Medical Research
provides the brightest light,
for the illumination of 
the rare disease patients’ plight.

To read about medical research at the scleroderma unit, Click here   

Although rare disease patients are few in number, eg. 2.5 million scleroderma patients worldwide, (the World Scleroderma Foundation), the commonalities and golden hallmark for each rare disease patient are the same overall. 


To read my articles:  

Celebrating 20 years of being a patient at the Scleroderma Unit, Click here

2019 New Challenges, Click here
NIHR Video: 'My Experience of Clinical Trials', Click here 

If we only had more RESEARCH investment for Scleroderma, Raynaud's, Autoimmune Rare Disease, Click here   

The Importance of Medical Research and Awareness to the Scleroderma, Raynaud's, Autoimmune Rare Disease patient, Click here  

2018 Scleroderma Awareness Raising and Medical Research, Click here    


Importance of an early diagnosis, Click here   
Taking Part in Clinical Research Trials, Click here     

The Importance of a Multi Disciplinary Medical ‘Dream Team’, Click here    

Expert Specialist Centres, Click here      
My Skin is Cured from Scleroderma, Click here   
UK Guidelines for Managing and Treating Scleroderma, Click here        

Fatigue, Click here         

Mobility, Click here      

Diet and nutrition, Click here      

Raynaud's- How to Diagnose, Click here        

'All you need to know', 2016 Awareness Video, Click here    

Global Patient Profiles 2018 Video, Click here    

Unmet Medical Needs, Click here     

Calcinosis Video, Click here    

The scleroderma tooth fairy, Click here     

Skin Cancer and scleroderma, Click here   


Sept 2017

Prof Chris Denton and I, Sept 2017

June 2019

This year, 2020, I am celebrating 22 years of being a patient at the Scleroderma Unit, The Royal Free Hospital - a world leading expert specialist, research centre.  

Read more, here.    

I am eternally grateful to the global scleroderma trail blazers Dame Prof Black and Prof Chris Denton, whose commitment and dedication to unlocking the scleroderma enigma, is nothing other than, superhuman. Along with the Raynaud's world trail blazer, Dr Kevin Howell.  

I am truly humbled and inspired by their work ethic and commitment to their patients.  

I am wholly appreciative for Prof Denton’s continued medical expertise and support, especially during my barrister qualifying years, 1997 - 2004. 
1st March 2004, I qualified as a self employed practising barrister. Further to having been told in 1997, by my original diagnosing doctor, that I was looking at a 15month prognosis. 


Chat Magazine May 2019

I very much hope to utilise my professional skills and qualifications along with my patient experience, to help achieve the #SclerodermaFreeWorld dream, hoping to improve understanding and best practice, in the meantime. Read more, here     


World Scleroderma Day 2018, Click here  

World Scleroderma Day 2017, 29th June, Click here    

World Scleroderma Day 2016, 29th June. Origins of the date, Click here   

World Scleroderma Day 2015, 29th June.  

James Carver, myself, Prof Chris Denton
I had the pleasure of being a presenter and part of the European co-hort who gave a presentation at the European Parliament, Brussels, in honour of World Scleroderma Day 2015.  

I am immensely grateful to James Carver, former MEP, for organizing this event in memory of his late wife Carmen, who sadly passed from Scleroderma.  

To view the presentation, Click here 


Raynaud's, Click here  
To view the UK treatment guidelines for Raynaud’s Phenomenon, Click here   

To view the EULAR treatment guidelines, Click here    
To view Thermograph Video, Click here    

To view Thermograph image, Click here    

My Raynaud’s reality, Click here     

The global Raynaud's trailblazer - Dr Howell and I, Sept 2017

To view Nailfold Capillaroscopy equipment (used to identify possible blood vessel damage), Click here   

Invisible Disability Awareness Video, Click here

To read My ‘Invisible Disability’ experience, Click here   

50 Shades of Blue, Click here


For latest updates follow / subscribe:  



Twitter, Instagram, Blogger, YouTube, Facebook Page:

#SclerodermaFreeWorld           #RaynaudsFreeWorld    #Research  

Please DONATE to help fund medical research at The Scleroderma Unit,The Royal Free Hospital, London.  

100% of your monies will be used for medical research purposes only. NO wages or admin costs. Thank You. 


Last Update: Feb 2020.       

 Happy 70th Birthday to the NHS. 
Scleroderma, Raynaud's, Autoimmune Rare Disease. 

#RaynaudsFreeWorld #SclerodermaFreeWorld  

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