Welcome back to Without Wings!

It’s been a while – and an awful lot has happened, including the completely out of the blue Covid 19 pandemic that’s sent everyone reeling! We hope you are somehow still managing to thrive – despite the huge interruptions to medical – and alternative health services that Covid 19 has necessitated, and the obvious stress and fear of lockdown. Hopefully, here in the Isle of Man we are slowly emerging. In the meantime, well done to all our NHS staff who have been holding the fort, and well done to everyone else for coping! Stress is never a good thing for autoimmune arthritis conditions, and we hope you’ve managed to find space to at least rest – despite the unprecedented strangeness of these times.

We’re sending out this blog for several reasons. Firstly, because we want to give our friend Lynsey Martin a proper send off. Many of you might have seen from our Facebook post that Lynsey – who had been an incredible source of support to the charity ever since its inception in 2016, tragically passed away in March. Lynsey was a vibrant soul, never afraid to question life and always a pleasure to bump into around Ramsey. She also helped us out hugely, and we wanted to make as big as possible a deal about how much respect we had for this fantastic lady who we are so proud to have been able to call a friend. In addition to this, Lynsey’s friends and family wanted to raise some funds for Without Wings and after her passing set up a Go Fund Me page for the charity. We are deeply touched to discover they have managed to raise a whopping £1675.66! We cannot thank them enough – or you enough if you donated. In truth our funds have been low as we committed everything to our – now secure, counselling initiative with MCH Psychological Services back in October.

Lynsey’s Fund.

We’ve had a long think about how to use what we’d like to call ‘Lynsey’s Fund.’ We want this money to fully represent what inspired Lynsey to believe in us as a charity – which we know boiled down to her passion for self-empowerment and a thinking outside the box approach to chronic illness. Lynsey didn’t have autoimmune arthritis, but she was our friend and understood the complexities involved. She also knew that Without Wings holds at its core a belief that an autoimmune arthritis diagnosis doesn’t need to be a life sentence, and that we aim to help people find a way to ‘thrive, not just survive’ with their condition.

We therefore think it is only fitting to use Lynsey’s Fund specifically for two (post Covid 19!) purposes.

Firstly, we will be making the largest proportion of Lynsey’s Fund available to match like for like funding for rehabilitation or physical maintenance purposes. If you have a form of autoimmune arthritis, you’ll know this is no small matter – it is massively helpful in pain management, and also vital to keep those joints moving – ‘use it or lose it’ as the saying goes!

This means that whether you wish to attend a gym, a yoga or pilates class, tai chi, or some other form of body therapy, we will pay for half your classes for a limited period (to be decided and dependent upon uptake/ funds). We would pay for more, but the plan is to spread these compassionate funds as far as possible. Anyone affected by autoimmune arthritis can apply to use Lynsey’s Fund. We especially hope this initiative takes some of the burden off people affected by these illnesses who have also been financially affected by Covid, and might otherwise struggle to afford vital physical maintenance classes.

Our second use of Lynsey’s Fund will be for the underwriting of a Community Complementary Health Fair in 2021 (again, Covid 19 allowing), which we’ll be running in Lynsey’s memory. Lynsey loved our fair in 2018 – as did a LOT of people as it was a super busy day! You might remember her there, and how she kept us all running on copious amounts of quinoa pizza and fermented carrots! (Much, MUCH nicer than I just made it sound!). We know we cancelled our last fair back in February – there was too much going on personally to run the event at that time. For next year we’ve already had offers of support to get the event up and running from Lynsey’s pals, so as soon as we get the post Covid go ahead, we’re looking forward to getting it organised.

Thank you so much once again to Lynsey’s family and friends. So much love to you all at this sad time and we really hope we can use the money you have raised to do her proud. 💙

Call for Members and Trustee Applications!

In other news, as you may have read, the charity was due to amalgamate with the Lisa Lowe last year. This would have enabled us to professionalise our service, and to expand our provisions to other chronic health conditions. A serious amount of effort went into securing this initiative but in the end it wasn’t meant to be. With MCH Psychological Therapies going through such a rapid period of change themselves, the final amalgamation was nothing like the initial proposal, and it was incredibly stressful being swept along trying to make sense of all the changes. Ultimately, at the eleventh hour we had no choice but to withdraw as the line between charity ‘amalgamation’ and Without Wing’s ‘dissolution’ had become too thin. We presented all our funds to MCH and they have very kindly offered to continue our free counselling initiative indefinitely. This is a tremendous outcome for our small charity, and if you are in need of this service, please do drop us a line.

Within all of this, Without Wings cannot continue exactly as it has been doing – as a vibrantly, proactive voluntary organisation run almost entirely by one person, plus our superb treasurer and our two other wonderful and supportive trustees. There are other lives to live, dreams to pursue, families – and health to be taken care of, and also brand new, and very time consuming, careers to build! Over the next few months we will therefore be on the lookout for new Trustees and will be thinking about how to restructure the running of the charity, so it can still run efficiently, without too much pressure on just one or two individuals. This will be made clearer in our next AGM, which we will hold as soon as Covid 19 allows. The plan at present is for at least two of the current Trustees to remain as such, but we are seeking a new Chair, and also members who are keen to take on active roles with regards to fundraising and event organisation.

We hope to see you there, more details in due course, though do get in touch if you wish to become an active member, or would like to be considered for the role of Trustee.

Sending love to everyone, see you on the other side!