It all started with Dr Kaya, consultant hematologist writing a draft abstract following the completion of the mentoring evaluation report developed last year by my colleagues and I.
The initial report showed that the children and young people we mentored had a general reduction in using hospital services and infact had less sickle crisis during the period of mentoring. Dr Kaya supported us with the clinical data for the evaluation as the scope was only for young people who had been cared for at the Royal London Hospital.
Dr Kaya submitted the abstract to the British Society for Hematology and it was accepted as an innovative model of care to be showcased at the national conference in 2019 in Glasgow.
I subsequently received a scholarship grant of £750 which funded my delegate expenses- travel, hotel and registration.
And the rest is history. really
Alarm goes off, I ignore it completely. My subconscious is telling me even in my sleep that I need to wake.
I had overslept....It was 5:10 am
With a typical morning mayhem and a very hurried panic to get out of the door, so I dont miss my coach, I even managed to forget my passport after leaving the house, I made the flight to Glasgow from Stansted airport. Flight was for 8:55 am. We made it to the airport for 7:25 am at which point I took my first real breath. These early morning flights are ridiculous.
So with roughly 72 hours here in Scotland, back to the home country of my partner, memories of my time in Loch Tay last summer, the remarkable landscapes of mountains, the magic of the highlands, an overkill of nature, the lochs, a city of art, culture, Irn Bru, fried sausage rolls, haggis, PUBS, terrible weather, cold rain, whisky, 14th C history, a city of lush hills, a dreamy world of Robert Burns poems, it had to be worth re-visiting.
I flew with Michael, my colleague who also mentors children and young people living with sickle cell.
Whitney, our other colleague couldnt make it as she had just flown back from NYC after a birthday trip. I missed her.
After breakfast at Starbucks, a coffee, some orange juice and a danish almond, we caught our flight and landed Glasgow safely.
Following from an Uber drive to the hotel, a full Brooklyn brunch at Tribeca, we walk to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum for some culture before a quick nap.
After catching up on some work and admin, I make contact with Dr Kaya to tell her we had arrived. We did not need to attend the conference yesterday, Monday, 1st April.
Today, Tuesday, 2nd April, are attending to showcase our work and discuss the immediate findings of the programme's evaluation.
To say I am proud, is putting it lightly.
And I owe it to my team, Whitney, Michael and of course Dr Kaya for her incredible support to myself and colleagues in believing that a non-medicalised model can actually go a long way to support children and young people living with sickle cell. She has always been so ahead of the game and she is a professional I greatly admire,
I guess I have been able to demonstrate proof of concept that health mentoring or mentoring generally can infact improve one's quality of life, keep them well and support them to achieve their goals.
Read the full abstract in the link submitted to the British Society for Hematology Conference 2019 in Glasgow.