Simon’s Story – Smythe House
In the six years since Simon* moved to Smythe House, the turnaround in his health and indeed his life as a whole has been nothing less than remarkable.
Aged just 23, he arrived at Smythe House from his family home in July 2010, weighing 23st 1lbs and suffering from sleep apnoea and breathing difficulties. He was reliant on oxygen at night to assist with his breathing, which was laboured and disturbing his sleep.
Simon’s parents felt that they had reached a critical point at which they were not able to support him fully in his challenges with weight and social interaction. They wanted him to lead a more fulfilled life and knew this would only be possible if he had the support of a team who had the skills and knowledge to manage his weight and challenges. It was important to Simon and his family that he moved to a homely environment, where he would be provided with the appropriate support, encouragement and reassurance he needed. Smythe House met all of these requirements and has proved to be a perfect fit for Simon.
The first step taken by the Smythe House team in supporting Simon was to provide 24 hour food security, giving him total piece of mind that he no longer had to worry whether, what, how much and at what time he would eat. This was naturally very different to a family home environment and took some getting used to.
The support provided by Smythe House though didn’t just focus on weight loss and management. The team initially supported Simon with his personal care and were able to identify anything that required a medical intervention, such as the treatment of skin irritations.
Simon’s weight soon began to fall and he was encouraged to get into a routine of taking regular exercise. As Simon had always been fully mobile if a little slower than he might have liked. So initially exercise took the form of gentle exercise, simply walking short distances. It soon began to have the desired effect, to the point where he now likes to walk frequently and takes himself off swimming three times a week.
With the daily support of the team at Smythe House, as well as huge effort and determination from Simon himself, he has lost a staggering (and lifesaving) 13st 1lb and now weighs just 10st. This amazing weight loss has enabled him to pursue a range of social, leisure and employment activities. He is arguably as fit and healthy as any young man in his 30’s could be.
One of Simon’s greatest achievements to date has been gaining employment with Travis Perkins, where he now works 2 days per week. This is paid employment and something Simon takes enormous pride in. It has enabled him to make new friends away from Smythe House.
The offer of work came about through a partnership already in place with Consensus’ PWS services.
Although Simon had lost almost all of his 13st by this time his confidence still needed building and supporting. So the team ensured that another individual from nearby Perrywood House, who was already working at Travis Perkins became a buddy for Simon as he began his first job, two years ago.
Simon has gained an enormous amount of confidence through working, where a day can see him stacking shelves, and placing surplus items into stores neatly organised. Whilst he began with his buddy in Northampton, Simon now works in the Rushden branch which is an easy commute by bus. He travels on his own now, previously unimaginable with his flask, pack-up and phone.
Simon loves travelling by bus and has built up a vast knowledge of the local bus network and timings.
Simon now confidently travels to Leicester every two months by bus, just an hour away to visit his family. Sitting on a coach or bus would have been impossible for Simon in the early years but his independence is growing rapidly with his improved mobility and fitness.
Simon’s family visit him frequently. His Dad visits every Friday and they go shopping together.
All birthdays and family celebrations are spent together, with his parents, sister and two nephews. This is something Simon cherishes and loves to talk about when the subject of family and loved ones come up. He enjoys holidays abroad with them at once sometimes twice a year.
When not at Travis Perkins or spending time with his family or girlfriend, Simon also enjoys attending the Gateway club locally, going for a pint with his key worker and taking the bus to visit museums about transport. One recent visit took him to the Transport Museum in York.
Having spent a number of years in his youth unable to enjoy more adventurous pastimes, Simon is making up for lost time. Last year he visited Alton Towers during their Halloween festivities and he is in the process with support from the team of booking a trip to Thorpe Park next year.
Simon leads a very active life, not just in work and achieving his personal goals but also walking lots with his girlfriend, supporting her in her weight loss. With support from the team he takes her to the theatre regularly and recently took a coach holiday in Scotland with her, taking in the beauty of the lochs and mountains.
The secrets of Simon’s success are the approach of the team and his own determination and motivation to succeed. Living in an inclusive and supportive environment has enabled him to achieve his goals and aspirations whilst the team support him to manage his weight.
*names have been changed to protect privacy