Guest blog: Nikki Lancaster
THIS IS MY STORY
My name is Nikki and I am a campaigner and blogger.
For 10 and a half years I was a parent carer to my severely disabled, medically complex son providing him with hourly medical care around the clock. I gave up my much-loved career in fashion so that I could care for Lennon full time and give him the quality of life he deserved.
During that time, I experienced a lack of support, and services for disabled children were constantly losing funding and being closed.
One of the services that was threatened with closure was our respite centre, Nascot Lawn where Lennon would stay for one weekend every month to give us a much-needed break from providing round-the-clock care, to recharge our batteries ready for the next month ahead and to spend time with our 2 young daughters. I knew that we would not be able to continue to care for Lennon without our respite, so I contacted the other parents who were in the same situation as us and we came together to campaign against the closure.
Our campaign received national coverage, appearing on BBC, ITV, Channel 5, various local and national newspapers and radio stations and BBC Panorama.
Our plight was taken to Westminster and as a group of parents, we took our local NHS Clinical commissioning group to the high court to contest their decision to close the respite unit.
During the campaign my son Lennon died suddenly.
I made the decision to carry on campaigning the closure as I was now in a position where I had much more time on my hands than the other parents.
After the respite centre finally closed, I used my experiences of life with Lennon to carry on campaigning for disabled children and children’s palliative care services on a local and national level.
My blog won the BAPS newcomer award in 2018, and our Nascot Lawn campaign was runner up for the Sheila McKechnie Campaigner award in 2019.
Next week I have been asked to tell my story at The Together for Short lives Christmas charity ball hosted by Disney and Simon Cowell. With it being such a special occasion, I needed a special dress!
Nikki wears London Fields Wrap Dress
WHAT I'M WEARING
I plan my outfit around the way I would like to feel and when I am speaking, I like to feel confident and comfortable. I have chosen to wear the gorgeous London Fields Wrap Dress from Palones. It is the most flattering dress, as soon as I put it on, I feel like a million dollars. My body is not an average shape and I am quite short, but this dress accentuates my waist and makes me look so much taller than I am!