As it stands at the moment Guide4Living focuses completely on today's most pressing health and medical issues. Issues that have shattered lives, instilled fear, and broken the hearts of loved ones worldwide. It is my aim, with your help, to broaden the reach of Guide4Living to encompass many other unsung issues and afflictions which often have brought despair and hurt to many. I'm talking about the very real but often silenced subject of domestic violence, the terror of a small child afraid to go to school, and the confusion and fear that many young people feel when they are confronted with their sexuality.
I want Guide4Living to be a place where people can finally let the feelings of guilt, pain, fear, confusion and regret off of their shoulders. A place where people can meet, help, heal and support each other - through some of the darkest and loneliest of times.
Please help me achieve this dream - and write to me with your ideas, questions, comments, articles and stories. Together we can make a difference.
I would very much like to thank the brave individuals who have shared their stories with us and I would very much like to dedicate this site and all it embodies to two very special women.
Claudie Knight who died on her 51st birthday in February 2004. She was told she had metastatic breast cancer in April 2002. Claudie set herself many goals, the main one being to live long enough to see her daughter Janey off to university in September 2004. She didn’t achieve that goal but she gave it her best shot and she and those closest to her shared many magical moments along the way. Here, Janey - now studying English at Newcastle University in the UK
Marie Carmen - a 35-year-old Spanish woman who has been wheelchair bound with multiple sclerosis for the last four years.
She lives in a relatively affluent region of Spain where a huge influx of foreign visitors - both tourists and ex-pat residents alike - has swelled the coffers of the local authorities in recent years, way beyond their wildest dreams. But despite repeated requests for daily living assistance, Marie Carmen has been denied any form of help from Spain 's Social Services Department.
Her local town hall recently agreed to provide an untrained daily help for one hour a day from Monday to Friday. This female assistant has no experience in dealing with MS sufferers but she's able to provide limited help with showering and other aspects of personal hygiene. The rest is left to Marie Carmen's ageing parents, who live nearby, and her husband who leaves the marital home for work at 8am , returning at 8pm .
Marie Carmen has no special adaptations in her home except for a specially installed lift which allows her an occasional escape from her first floor apartment in a traditional Spanish pueblo. For the vast majority of the time she is housebound. The nearest MS support group meets in a city more than an hour's drive from Marie Carmen's home and it's simply not practical for her to participate.
She's a highly intelligent infant school teacher whose brain is as active and lively as ever.but it can't send signals to her lower body which occasionally spasms and trembles but refuses to co-operate. She bears the disease and her disability with inspirational courage and cheerfulness.
Marie Carmen doesn't speak English and has no computer so is enable to harness the power of the Internet to find support from a global network of MS sufferers. If you have a message for her and you're not a Spanish speaker, we'll make sure it's translated and delivered.