TAP's Coast 2 Coast trip was all about the power of gratitude; thanking key workers and showing how easy and positive showing gratitude can be.
It all started when a good friend of mine who runs TAP asked me to join the team in 2020, after I had had a very traumatic life changing experience which left me with spinal cord injuries and in a wheelchair. Being in hospital for such a long period of time made me realise the power of gratitude, and how important it is to keep expressing gratitude. Healthcare and social care workers work tirelessly to keep us safe, and though they don't expect it, when someone says 'Thank you', it really makes their day! In order to express my own personal gratitude and to share some of the dedications that have been shared on TAP's social thanking platform, I decided to travel across the country on my mobility scooter!
This last fortnight I've been spreading positivity though the power of gratitude across the country, expressing my personal thanks to key workers, as well as sharing messages from the TAP platform. I began my journey from the Liverpool Docks on Monday 27th September and after visiting Liverpool University Hospital, I went to Warrington Hospital to thank some of the key workers there first-hand. The team there had put together a goodie bag which included drinks and snacks to keep me going as I travelled across the country. Gratitude really is the gift that keeps on giving! I then had an equally wonderful reception from the team at Kare Plus Warrington, a home care organisation, which is already using TAP's free-to-use social thanking platform and now wants to expand its usage to other offices in the North.
On my way to Manchester, in fact in Eccles, which is just on the outskirts of Manchester, my mobility scooter ran out of power. I ended up talking to a passer-by who was interested in what I was doing; I told him my story about expressing gratitude and he wanted to make a donation, straight out of his own pocket. As well as collecting messages of gratitude, I have also been raising funds for NHS Charities Together.
TAP helps us to express gratitude in 3 key areas, firstly, we can thank individuals for the work that they have done and continue to do in order to keep us safe. We can also praisehealthcare and social care organisations for facilitating the care that we receive and continue to receive. Additionally, we can raise funds to ensure that excellent care continues into the future.
After spreading more positivity via Royal Manchester Children's Hospital and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, I left for Glossop where I met the amazing staff at Reuben's Retreat, a sanctuary for the families of children with complex medical needs.
After thanking more key workers at Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care, I undertook the challenge of navigating the Pennines. It was raining, obviously. I drove over the Pennines and arrived in Sheffield, where I was able to thank even more key workers.
On Friday I set off for Worksop where I was met by a wonderful reception from the nurses at Bassetlaw Hospital. It seemed to validate my mission to spread positivity and gratitude, seeing how happy these key workers were to see me.
After calling at Aurora Wellbeing Centre, a day centre for local cancer patients, I left Worksop on Monday 4th October and headed to The Lincoln County Hospital, where I was able to thank more key workers, Lincoln is particularly relevant to TAP's work as our thanking platform has already delivered over 1,000 messages of thanks for those working within the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust. I had lots of messages of thanks to deliver, both from me and from the TAP platform. I also passed by BMI Lincoln Hospital on my way through.
The next part of the journey took me to Woodhall Spa, a welcome break from the road, and then it was onto the final leg of the journey to Skegness seafront, via Skegness and District General Hospital. When I arrived in Skegness I was met by TV and radio journalists who wanted to hear about my journey and I was thrilled as there were members of the public, who had heard about my challenge, to cheer me on and see me make it from coast to coast!
During the pandemic gratitude was at the forefront of our minds, we clapped for carers, and cheered on the unsung heroes, and now as we emerge from the pandemic, it's important that we continue to show our appreciation to those very deserving key workers. I hope I have been able to spread positivity through my Coast 2 Coast trip. I also hope that my efforts will encourage others to continue to express thanks to these very deserving recipients and hopefully, together we can change the world for the better through the power of gratitude!
You can watch a short film of my trip with thanks to BBC Look North here.