North West – Steve Smith

Steve Smith – Peer Support Champion – North West

 

My name is Steve Smith and before CES I had a fit healthy, active life and married with 3 children.

I was a police officer driving high speed pursuit cars and dealing with serious and fatal road traffic collisions.

I first developed CES in 2001 had surgery and recovered well. At that time no one told me I had CES and I had no knowledge of it at all until 10 years later Christmas 2011. Then I was admitted to hospital with similar problems. I left hospital hardly able to walk, no left leg feeling and all sorts of other problems which are still here to this day. My consultant never mentioned CES I found out from my own GP and later on from other consultants after having 10 operations including a spinal cord stimulator fitted.

The early days made me very confused and depressed which got so bad I had to have counselling which I would recommend to anyone in the early stages, it especially helped me being married and having a family. It was then I found CESA when it first started and found great support from others gaining valuable advice. It taught me that I was not the only person suffering CES and learnt a lot about it.

I became friends with Claire and from there went on to give advice and attended meetings, including giving a talk to over 300 paramedics at a conference, being a patient research partner for the Walton Centre, appearing on the BBC news, attending a conference for neurosurgeons from around the country and abroad at the Walton Centre and many more interesting events. I run the CESA Men’s Group and I am an admin for CESA group. I have recently become a Trustee for the CESA Charity and there are future plans ahead.

I cannot work due to CES but get frustrated not doing anything so getting involved in these type of activities takes my mind off my condition. I’m also a Chair of Governors at a local school and a Commander of a police cadet unit of 1000 young people so all this does me so much good mentally. This has all come about from originally becoming involved with the CESA talking and listening to people so it is great to give things back.

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