18/3/18 - I am currently selling raffle tickets for the Easter Fundraiser' (information on how to purchase tickets can be found here).


3/3/18 - I am currently going through the process of redesigning this blog so that 'Bravery Bottles' is separate from my personal blog; where I post about my illnesses and life updates..this means that sometimes, my blog may be closed from time-to-time, but I’m always available to be contacted at

Monday, 26 February 2018

Guest posts by BB participants - Julie Barrett

Hi everyone. I’m Julie, I’m in my mid thirties and live in South West England. I have multiple health conditions that have mean I need to use a wheelchair full time and rely on family to help me with day to day things that most people take for granted. Over the last eighteen months or so my health has rapidly deteriorated. Apart from a weeks stay in hospital recently, I’ve not been able to leave my bedroom since early November 2017 (I’m writing this at the end of February 2018). That’s the boring, depressing stuff got out of the way- now I’d like to introduce you to the chap who gets me through the tough times, keeps me safe, helps me with everyday tasks and saves my life on pretty much a weekly basis. Please say hello to my assistance dog Elgin.
He is a three and a half years old Labrador who was trained by an assistance dog charity called Canine Partners. Elgin has completely transformed my life, and has saved my life by on numerous occasions by fetching help when I am choking and losing consciousness (I have problems swallowing due to a medical condition ). Several when I’ve been home alone and choking Elgin has managed to save me himself by thumping me in the back with his head or paws then nudging my throat hard with his nose, he then frantically licks my mouth (it’s gross but it makes cough and splutter and start breathing again so I don’t mind the grossness lol). We think he’s learnt to copy what Mum does to stop me choking which is incredible. 

He's given me back some of the independence I lost when I became a wheelchair user and is my little ray of sunshine. He helps me with things like dressing and undressing, fetches the phone when it rings, picks up dropped items, gets things off low shelves in shops for me, opens and closes doors, raises the alarm if I fall when transferring to my wheelchair and dozens of other tasks. He also alerts me to low or high diabetic sugar levels, and he alerts me about ten minutes before I have a severe muscle spasm or seizure. This gives me time to take some medication so that the spasm isn't as bad and doesn't cause as much damage - they are so violent that they often dislocate my joints. 
I’m currently fighting severe repeated infections and feel very ill with it and very low mood wise. I’m being treated at home with daily nurse visits as I don’t cope well with hospital stays (I especially hate being away from Elgin). He is what’s keeping me going - I’m determined to be back to my ‘normal’ soon so that I can enjoy spending time with him outside of the house. Love you boy, you’re my hero.