A dedicated team of SVP volunteer drivers have helped to keep a mum and her son together through the dark times.
When, back in 2012, a mother from Wallasey heard that her adult son had suffered a severe brain injury, she was devastated. Closure of public transport meant she couldn't travel from Wallesey to Liverpool where he was hospitalised. Visually impaired herself, Sally (not her real name), faced a Christmas apart from her son.
While she was still wondering what to do, help was not far away. Volunteer members from her local St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP) group at Holy Apostles and Martyrs Parish got together to coordinate lifts for Sally so she could visit her son in hospital for five days over Christmas. But the struggle to keep the family together continued long after Christmas. In early January 2013, Sally's son suffered a massive seizure resulting in him falling into a deep coma for many months.
During this time the SVP members continued to assist Sally by giving her lifts to and from the hospital. Doctors thought Sally's son would not survive another seizure or even a minor infection.The situation looked bleak. But miraculously, Sally's son emerged from his coma and began to make slow progress. In October 2014, he was ready to be moved to a Specialist Rehabilitation Unit in Chester, over 20 miles away from Sally's home, even farther away than before. After experimenting with train travel and realising that the journey was physically impossible for Sally, the local SVP members began to think creatively. Before long several Chester SVP groups had teamed up with SVP members in Wallasey to create a rota of drivers to help transport Sally to and from the unit.
SVP member Sue Johnson recounts: "Without us, Sally simply couldn't have gone to the Rehab Unit to see her son. We were her beacon of hope."