Four years ago, at age 41, my daughter Vanessa was a successful TV Producer in London juggling work and family life with her husband Ed & two young children. Overnight a catastrophic illness left her blind & partially immobile. All throughout her hospitalisation and subsequent recovery she insisted on documenting this life-changing event in her young life, the fears, feelings, daily humour, challenges and questions - why?
During her rehabilitation she managed to spark the interest of a Cambridge University neuroscientist who was interested in her patient experience. As a consequence she masterminded & hosted an interactive exhibition at the Cambridge Science Festival entitled ‘The Beach’ - based upon her own use of mindfulness. Following this success she was invited to present a TEDx talk in Ghent explaining the power of mindfulness using science and art. This year she has published her first book through Bloomsbury called ‘Patient H69’ about her journey to recovery.
Research for the book involved consultation with scientists and specialist clinicians, and took Vanessa on her own scientific learning journey. Achieving is part of regaining confidence after such a sudden, unexpected knock in life. As a first step she enrolled on an Executive Coaching Course and gained her professional qualification. Throughout her recovery & over the last few years she’s been the driving force behind a local charity (LPAG) that aims to regenerate the playground in Crystal Palace - winning the Croydon Mayor’s Award for best local charity in 2016 raising an amazing £113k. The refurbishment works began in April 2017. Vanessa is tenacious & has developed strategies to remain focused despite her disabilities. Having lost one career to her sight-loss, she has discovered a talent for writing and science communication.