21st Jul, 2019

LETTERS: Your discussion from across the city in this week's Observer

Just after her first birthday, my daughter Shakeerah was diagnosed with a brain tumour. She wasn’t expected to survive.

Shakeerah is now six. She’s a bundle of joy but her disability has impacted on almost every area of our lives. She has a tracheostomy, uses a ventilator overnight, is fed through a plastic tube in her tummy, and bears scars around her head from numerous operations (45 and counting).

I didn’t think about carers before Shakeerah came along. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have thought it a particularly hard way of living. Never would I have imagined how complicated it is, or how relentless the battle for support. On top of the 24/7 care, endless appointments, and military planning needed to master medication timetables, equipment and or even leaving the house, there are a plethora of forms to complete, referrals and regulations to navigate. Although Councils have a duty to provide care for disabled children and their families, budget cuts mean these services are harder to find. Yet they are our lifeline!

Short breaks provide children like my daughter with a safe environment, allowing her to interact with other children and participate in activities tailored to her abilities. Shakeerah comes home with biscuits she’s decorated, plants she’s potted, and a huge grin. And I feel recharged and ready for the next challenge.

We need your help. The Children’s Trust, the charity that provides Shakeerah with short breaks, has launched The Little Break Appeal. Please help us raise £100,000 to ensure that families get the support they desperately need. You can donate online www.thechildrenstrust.org.uk.

Yasmeen Crowther

Shakeerah’s Mum

I am gutted and wholly disappointed that Labours NEC have decided to ignore the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of Jew hate. This goes against the majority of the Jewish community.

Why have they done this? Do they not think Victims of anti-Semitism deserve the same rights and respect as other victims of racism.

Rather then go with the IHRA definition the Labour Party held two-hour long debate, where it’s leader Mr Corbyn said he backed the decision to adopt Labour’s own antisemitism code over the IHRA alternative.

This is a shambolic affair and once again undermines the claims of The opposition leadership that it intends to tackle the problem of antisemitism.

Further to this I am still waiting for a reply from Coventry’s Council Labour leader. I wrote to him on the 28th March 2018 raising my increasing concern over the way the Labour Parliamentary leader is dealing with anti-Semitism. I asked if Coventry Council led by himself was in a position to ask the leader of the Labour Party to take more action against those with Anti-Semitic views.

I feel locally we have duty no matter what political party we belong to to ensure the pain and hurt felt by any Jewish members of our community and city are recognized and we reassure them we stand together in stamping any views of prejudice.

Coun Tim Mayer (Westwood, Conservative)

As a keen walker I’m delighted to be supporting Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer’s Walk Together to save lives and improve the quality of life for all those affected by the disease. My mum was diagnosed with bowel cancer and is thankfully now recovered, so I know how important it is to raise awareness.

Walk Together is a perfect opportunity to bring people together from all “walks” of life, to show our support for those undergoing treatment, remember loved ones and help stop people dying from bowel cancer. It’s a sponsored walk for people of all ages and abilities.

Bowel cancer is the UK’s fourth most common cancer and the second biggest cancer killer. Every year almost 42,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer and more than 16,000 people die from the disease. However it’s treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early.

Sign up to the walk in London on Saturday 15 September or to receive a fundraising pack with everything you need to hold your own memorable walk, visit: bowelcanceruk.org.uk/walktogether

If you need inspiration on walks in your area, visit The Outdoor Guide: theoutdoorguide.co.uk

Julia Bradbury

TV presenter and co-founder of walking site The Outdoor Guide

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