Staff from Radis Community Care came together recently to help a colleague in need after it was discovered that his son is suffering from an incredibly rare illness.
Paul Evison has been a support worker at the Shrewsbury branch of Radis Community Care for the past three years and recently, his son Ben was diagnosed with a condition called SMARD1, a rare form of spinal muscular atrophy, which causes muscle weakness and respiratory failure.
Ben is now 7 years old and has baffled doctors who had told his parents that he shouldn’t have lived past his 2nd birthday. Instead, Ben is defying all the odds, he is still able to walk with a frame and continues to go to school but unfortunately, his condition is worsening.
The family was told that a specially trained dog could help Ben with his day-to-day tasks but when they looked into funding – they were refused. Rather than give up, Ben’s dad Paul went to his manager, Daniel Frater, to ask about increasing his hours so that they could buy the dog themselves. When Daniel listened to Paul’s story, rather than give him the extra hours, he told Paul that as a branch, they would raise the money that Ben needs.
Over the next few weeks, many fundraising events were planned from a raffle to a sponsored car wash. Some of the team even volunteered to dye their hair in support. The local paper and radio station heard about the fundraising efforts and were so impressed with Ben’s bravery that they were happy to help. The extra publicity saw donations coming in from across the globe, including America, Switzerland and Australia. Daniel also asked other Radis branches to get involved and the nearby Monmonth and Gloucester branches both got involved in the fundraising efforts.
Daniel Frater, Shrewsbury Branch Manager told us:
‘We have been overwhelmed by the support from not only Radis employees but also the local community and beyond. Ben is such a special little lad and his dad Paul is a valued member of our team. As a support worker, he has helped many vulnerable people in our community and it’s lovely that we can do something to help his family now.’
It wasn’t long before there was enough in the pot to add a new addition to the Evison household – Rosie, the chocolate Labrador puppy.
The love and support that she has been able to provide for Ben is clear – they are already best friends and as the months and years go on, Rosie will be able to provide Ben with practical support, allowing him to remain independent for as long as possible but she also provides some essential help – for example, if Ben stops breathing in the middle of the night, Rosie will be able to alert his parents, so she could ultimately save his life.
In total, Daniel, his team and the local community helped to raise over £2,000 – enough for Rosie and her on-going training. But it doesn’t end there – now the local Mayor has heard about Ben and he has volunteered to help raise even more money with the hope that Ben and his family can go on the holiday of a lifetime before his condition deteriorates too much further.
Radis Community Care is and always has been a family run company and at its core is a set of values that defines how we should treat not only the people in our care but also the people who provide that valuable care. Daniel and his team have dedicated many hours to their friend and colleague Paul, and have proved that a dedicated and caring team can achieve great things.