Realise support Steve to celebrate his birthday in style
Steve’s Realise team were recently privileged to support his family on a very special mission – organising a 40th birthday break for Steve in Cornwall so that he could celebrate his big day in the company of loved ones, and in a place that holds special memories for him.
Back in 2014, a brutal attack left Steve with a brain injury and paralysis to his left side, as well as robbing him of his ability to communicate verbally. In that moment he went from being a fun-loving adventurer and adrenalin-junkie, to losing his independence and the future he had dreamed of.
Realise are determined to help Steve to regain some of the life skills that he lost due to his accident.
Thanks to the team’s ongoing support, Steve is now able to live largely independently in his own flat, and is starting to be able to enjoy the things that most of us take for granted – a degree of independence, the ability to express his wants, needs and ambitions in life, and the company of people who support him and celebrate him for being the individual that he is.
Steve’s Mum, Ali, shares her account of a very special, seaside weekend of celebrations:
Steve grew up, with his younger sister, Sam, on a farm near Looe in Cornwall. Looe was an important part of Steve’s first 20 years and I’m sure it holds many memories for him. His dad, sister, aunty and uncles still live in the area, so it seemed the obvious choice when we thought about giving Steve a break away for his 40th birthday.
We were very fortunate to know of some accessible holiday lodges just a few miles outside Looe, in Morval. Steve was very keen to have a short break here when we talked to him about it, and his care team all agreed this would be a great opportunity for Steve, so a 3-night break was booked.
Finally, the big day arrived, and that evening we all enjoyed a fish and chip takeaway in the lodge. The weather was a little wet which made it impossible to go down into Looe to see the harbour bathed in pretty lights, but I think Steve enjoyed just being on holiday with his team and family around him.
The following day was Steve’s birthday and we all hit Looe! The weather was surprisingly kind to us as the forecast had been less than positive, but we had blue sky & sunshine, the gods were smiling on us! We enjoyed a nice walk under Looe bridge and up around onto the bridge, taking us onto the harbourside.
Steve was loving being there and that was quite evident by his face and body language, he was so chilled and relaxed.
Whilst on the harbourside we met a TV crew filming the sequel to ‘Death in Paradise’, ‘Beyond Paradise’. It was quite something to see just how much equipment and crew were involved. When it finally shows, we can watch that particular episode and say ‘we were there on Steve’s birthday’!
We walked all the way out onto the Banjo Pier and took some group photos before walking along the main beach front to the far end, with Steve greeting those that had chosen to sit and take in the view. We happened to mention to a few that it was his birthday and on our return journey they sang Happy Birthday to him which was lovely.
We slowly meandered our way back via the harbourside once more, with the purchase of a canvas painting by a local artist, of the harbour, so Steve, once back in his flat, can look at his picture of Looe and remember his special day.
But the day wasn’t done just yet! As we walked back to the car, we passed an amusement arcade that was virtually empty, so we took the opportunity to see if it had a shooting game, one of Steve’s favourites, and it did!! The next 20-30 minutes was pure joy both for Steve and for us watching him.
Supported by Realise carer, Jordan, Steve proved his shooting skills over 3 games.
His concentration was amazing, and he clearly loved it. We are now doing some research to get him a similar game he can use at home, and his carers will be able to take him to the Arcade in Burnham on quieter days.
Later that day we all congregated at the farm where Steve grew up for a family gathering. Steve was once again very relaxed and chilled, enjoying being in the hub of his family. When I say ‘family’ I am also including Steve’s care team, as they are extended family members to Steve and to us also.
We are always so grateful for the care they give him which is above and beyond.
Steve finally asked to return to the lodge round 9.30pm as he was feeling tired and just wanted some quiet time, it had been a full day for him, and he had been amazing.
The following day we gave Steve the morning to relax in the lodge before meeting up at Siblyback Lake for a three and a half mile walk. Once again, the weather was kind to us and although there were quite a few menacing clouds around, the rain held off until just after we were back in our cars. The water was very low at the reservoir, but it was still a lovely walk.
The following day saw Steve return to his flat in Burnham-on-Sea with hopefully some lovely memories of his break away in Cornwall and a few pictures to remind him of his 40th birthday.
Steve’s family would like to say a big ‘Thank you’ to Steve’s care team, without whom none of this amazing memory would have been possible.
We realise that events such as this don’t happen without a lot of planning, effort and sacrifice and it’s to this team of amazing individuals that we owe our heartfelt thanks. We really do think of you all as ‘family’.
Ali – Steve’s Mum x