In April 2010, I published my autobiography – ‘My Enemy, My Friend’ – which documents my life with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and how homeopathy helped me walk again. After publishing the book and talking about the wonderful treatment I received at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine, the hospital asked me to speak as patient representative to the press and at other events. From this, the wonderful people at the British Homeopathic Association got in touch to ask me if I’d like to become a trustee. Of course, my answer was yes!
I have spent the best part of my adult life trying to explain to people the significance of homeopathy in my recovery. Yes, I still have arthritis, but to date, I am the only JRA sufferer I know (who has had the disease for over 20 years) who has no deformities, no puffy face from steroids, no joint replacements and no bone or organ problems from the long term use of medications. However, there are only so many people I come across to share my story with. But how, I used to wonder, could I get to the people who really needed it, the people with illnesses and ailments? Then the BHA approached me and I knew straight away that they would be part of my life for a very long time.
I tell other RA sufferers or people with other illnesses who I meet along the way about how much homeopathy has helped me, I tell friends to treat their children and families with it to keep their immune systems strong. But again, this is still a very small group of people. But now, I feel I finally have a voice, a way to express my positive experience with the world – or at least Britain.
As with every successful and notable charity, every board member at the BHA brings something different to the table. Among our trustees we have finance experts, doctors, scientists, homeopaths and businessmen – all of whom believe in and support the wonder that is homeopathy. The only thing the board was lacking, was ‘the patient’; A person who had a disease severe enough for the public to be able to see the significance, to know how sick this person was before, and to see her now. Then they could realise that it is not just about Arnica for cuts and bruises but important, life changing remedies that changed the course of my life. This is where I came in.
I find it funny sometimes, at our trustee meetings, to be sitting around a table with some highly intelligent, experienced and knowledgeable people and wondering how I fit into this collection of scholars. Sometimes I have to be honest, and ask questions, stating that I don’t understand words like ‘benchmark’ or ‘randomised controlled trials’ or ‘systematic review’. But then we broach a subject about what is really important, the patients, the ones receiving the treatments we’re trying to recommend, and then I come into my own.
After a few meetings I realised that it didn’t matter if I didn’t understand words like ‘Systematic Review’ because firstly, my fellow trustees would explain anything I didn’t understand, and secondly, I was there as the patients voice, not the doctors and after coming to that realisation I am now a crucial part of the team as I am the one who speaks on behalf of the people who need help, and they are the only reason this charity exists.
I plan on being part of the British Homeopathic Association for a long time. Helping it to become more of an option in one’s recovery, as opposed to a last resort, being part of the campaigns that fight to keep homeopathy on the NHS, and helping to bring homeopathy into the public eye as a positive, helpful tool in keeping healthy.
I now do talks all over the country, and sometimes abroad, about all different topics from the benefits of homeopathy, how to use positive thinking to change your life, the 'expert patients' view on healthcare and how to cope with a sick child, among others. If you would like me to talk at your event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org (changing to email@example.com after 4th December)