***Information about claiming benefits is now on our Information Page***
***Thank you to the lovely Hann-FX and Jordy-MC - talented, local hip-hop outfit, who donated a portion of their busking money to Without Wings***
***Tale of the Unexpected: Healing Against the Odd - FULL REPORT BELOW***
***Without Wing's ethos is compassion and respect for people living with these illnesses - hence our counselling and home help initiatives, and the whole purpose of the charity's existence. The topic of natural healing, especially within the emotive arena of food and movement can, for some, be stressful or upsetting. Without Wings respects this. Inspirational talks such as these do not necessarily reflect the views of the charity. We have designed them for those sufferers - or their loved ones, for whom natural healing plays an important role in how they deal with their diagnosis, and who want help sifting through and exploring the conflicting information.
Without Wings accepts no responsibility for how people choose to manage their condition as a result of these talks. We also strongly advise that if you choose to follow any such regime, you do so in close partnership with your healthcare practitioners :) ***
Without Wing's first ever big event last Sunday was a HUGE success! Thank you so much to everyone involved who helped us with the organisation, especially Hann-FX and Jordy-MC on amplification, Heidi Danaher on Thermomix demonstration and smoothies, and Emma Lynch from Flour Power, the Vegan Bakery in Port Erin. All these services and the food were provided free of charge. Thanks also to the wonderful Noa Bakehouse for providing such a great venue, to our speakers: Danny Preil and Andy Swarbrick and our wonderful audience - the atmosphere felt really positive and friendly. This was a real privilege to see given that these illnesses can be incredibly challenging.
The venue was packed out - far exceeding our expectations, with something in the region of 90 tickets sold. We hadn't anticipated it being such a huge success and hope everyone eventually found somewhere to sit! It was brought to our attention that for future events of this kind, people who are really suffering need access to more comfortable seating. This request has been noted and in future - if we use Noa, which we would like to do, we will reserve comfortable seats for people who need them.
There is too much to report here regarding the actual contents of the talks. For those interested, the event was videoed and we are hoping to attain a copy. Danny and Andy have also offered to forward their power point presentations which we will load somewhere on the site in the near future. Here is a basic synopsis:
1. The programme our speakers follow is a low-fat plant based diet that is designed to heal the gut. It was developed by Australian RA sufferer, Clint Paddision.
2. Intricate record/ chart keeping and food testing helped with recording progress, identifying trouble foods and/or external stressors. These charts also acted as important motivators.
3. Both speakers experienced significant additional benefit when they added in intense aerobic exercise. For Danny this has been swimming. For Andy, bikram yoga.
4. There were set backs for both during their healing. Both also worked in close partnership with their hospital departments and closely monitored their blood test results. This is not a programme that is against medication. Its primary purpose is to lower inflammation in the body and meds are recognised as an important tool during this process. Danny and Andy have only lowered their medication when it was agreed safe to do so by their rheumatologist. They continue to monitor their health and blood tests.
5. Neither speaker claims to be 'healed' or 'cured'. Both are off medication, symptom free and now eat a wide range of plant based food, but they still monitor their bodies and treat them with respect.
6. This is a holistic approach that involves not just food and exercise, but minimising stress, obtaining correct medical support, goal setting, constant exploration of what works and what doesn't, and motivational chart keeping. A support system is also essential.
Highlights of the evening!
Andy's bikram yoga demonstration! At 65 Andy has suffered from various forms of arthritis : psoriatic, rheumatoid and also osteo, for over 40 years. Prior to changing to a low fat, plant based diet and attending 90 minute bikram yoga classes (which he regularly does back to back - once for 4 classes in a row!) He was wheelchair bound, waiting for knee replacements and in the process of purchasing a motability scooter. He also has extensive damage in his right elbow. After seeing photographs of him bed and wheelchair bound with huge swollen feet, we watched a demo of eagle and balancing stick yoga poses. He also showed us his newfound ability to kneel - something he hadn't been able to do for 40 years.
Danny's stool discussion! We bet that when Danny was a child and asked what he would like to do when he was older, he never said "stand up in a packed room and discuss my bowel movements!" Yet that was precisely what he did last Sunday! Fun - but intriguing too - seeing lab results that provided first hand proof of just how much bad bacteria he had in his gut when he was very ill. We were also blown away by how well he managed to deliver his entire presentation in English! A mighty feat!
Without Wings is very grateful to all the people who filled out questionnaires, and/ or came to speak to us at the end. Andy has said he's happy for us to hand out his email if people want to know any more so please message us privately if you would like this.
Here's a breakdown of the 24 completed questionnaires we received:
14 responses were from people with some form of autoimmune arthritis, 4 were from people supporting loved ones, 6 were from people interested in prevention or general health.
Every single response said the event had been helpful or inspirational and that they would definitely like more events of this kind. All comments were positive with one request for more comfortable seating for sufferers and another request for audience questions to be repeated - so sorry! In future, yes, we will keep this in mind. There were extra positive comments regarding the food and also two offers of help - thank you very much to these people, we will definitely be taking you up on this offer in the future. We will also begin to send our blog posts out via email to people who left their addresses, so everyone can be kept informed about future events.
Cost: 19 responses said £12 was about right, 5 said it was 'a little expensive'. This has been noted. We felt the cost was about right. However, we had no idea the event would be so well attended - £600 was needed to cover our speakers' travel costs and venue hire. Ticket costs were based on what we thought to be a rather hopeful prediction of 50-60 attendees. Selling the tickets via Eventbrite to give people easy ticket access also incurred a cost which the Trustees had agreed was acceptable. In the end the event cost the charity nothing and made over £300. This will now go towards our counselling initiative. As such talks are part of providing positive information, it might be acceptable that future events can be subsidised for people living with these conditions. This is to be discussed by the Trustees, but will also depend on funds as currently our counselling and home help initiatives are taking priority.
Our guests had a fantastic time and absolutely loved the Isle of Man! They have actually asked to come back for our next event of this type - but in a supportive role. We are therefore currently looking into holding a similar talk next year featuring female 'recoverers,' to provide a perspective on natural healing from a women's point of view. We are also considering other compassionate and positive events for sufferers and their loved ones, such as a Complementary Health for Autoimmune Arthritis day. This would be subsidised for sufferers.
Many thanks once again to everyone for your amazing support. If anyone has any good photographs of the event, we would love to see them. Ours will be launched on the homepage.