By Roan Irving, Store Manager, McDonald Road Edinburgh store
Donna and I have been together for 10 years. We met through Co-op, working together for five years at Shandwick Place, Edinburgh before I moved stores to progress my career.
In late 2012, Donna was diagnosed with Huntingdon’s Disease (HD). This is a complex condition which stops parts of the brain from working properly over time. It’s inherited from a parent and there’s no cure. Donna’s symptoms started small at first, such as mood swings, being unsteady on her feet or falling over and involuntary movements. Gradually it got worse to the point where she had to stop working in 2015. People impacted by HD will eventually lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink or make decisions, and will ultimately need 24 hour care.
Donna can’t leave the house now without someone with her. As her carer, I prepare all our meals, sort and manage her prescriptions and get her dressed every day. Caring for Donna is a huge part of my life and the support I’ve received from family, friends and colleagues has been invaluable. Thanks to them, I’ve not had to put my life or ambitions on hold – I’m able to develop my career with Co-op and care for Donna at the same time.
My store management team are very supportive; if I ever need to swap shifts at short notice, they’re happy to help however they can. My team in-store are really supportive too – they’ve made scarves for Donna, jumpers for our cats and they keep us stocked with a regular supply of homemade fudge and soup! My Area Manager also worked with other stores in my local area to help raise £4,000 for Donna, allowing us to buy some new electrical equipment which will make caring for her a bit easier.
It can be hard for anyone being a carer – sometimes it has to come before being a husband, wife, son, or daughter. Working for Co-op has also enabled me to reach out to local causes in Edinburgh, giving support to others who are also unpaid carers.
As we draw a close to Carers Week, I think it’s important to recognise our colleagues who care for other people who can’t care for themselves. I’m so proud to work for a business who fully supports their colleagues and encourages them to achieve their goals.
Don’t forget that our LifeWorks services are also here for you 24 hours a day. They’re specialists and can help with practical guidance and counselling on a whole range of topics, including:
- health and wellbeing
- personal and work-related issues
- money and debt
- caring responsibilities
- legal matters
Your concern doesn’t need to be work-related either, and everything is completely confidential and free. If you can’t access LifeWorks, you can submit a request to the support team.