There’s a time for tears, and Louise Ketteringham knows that time is not now.
“We are making memories at the moment,” says the 38-year-old mum of four who lives in Bourne.
She and husband Colin are making memories because they know they don’t have long together.
Colin (52) has been diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), an incurable neurological disease, and in 2012 he was told he had three years to live.
Louise, who acts as Colin’s carer, says: “It’s a good job I am a strong person otherwise everyone would fall apart, but in my eyes there’s a time for tears and it’s not now.
“When he’s in hospital we worry, but when he is here we live day to day for the sake of the children.”
Colin, who also has two children from a previous marriage, says he was working as an international lorry driver when he first had symptoms. It took four years to have a diagnosis because there is no specific test for it – every other possible cause is eliminated first.
He says: “My brain stems are dying and shutting down my insides. It affects everything. Currently I am having trouble with my heart and lungs and blood oxygen levels.”
One of the therapists helping Colin to adjust to his mobility problems asked if he had ever worked for the Forces, which puzzled Colin at the time. He had – seven years with the Royal Corps of Transport – and so she suggested he approach the Royal British Legion for help.
Colin says: “I thought the RBL was there to help Second World War veterans so it came as a surprise to me.”
In fact the RBL helps all Service people, past and present.
They gave Colin an electric powered scooter and suitable storage facility in 2011, with help from other funds. That was followed by a family holiday, funding for the deposit for a vehicle through the Motability Scheme, and a larger electric powered scooter.
The most recent application was for a family holiday for this year, these breaks making a huge difference to children George (10), twins Jack and Chloe (9) and three-year-old Harry.
Colin said: “It was the last thought on my mind to go to the British Legion, but they have been absolutely fantastic. When you see people selling poppies you wonder where the money goes, but people should buy poppies because they do help the local community.”
Support the Legion at justgiving.com/Colin-Ketteringham