GMB Magazine GMB25 Candid Summer 2016 - Page 25

E UPDATMB YOURFGILE PRO G.UK Visit GMB online at www.gmb.org.uk MB.OR WWW.G MEMBER PROFILE NICOLA CLOUD EN How a rare illne ss changed a life N icola Clouden is allergic to water. and that’s when I was asked to be bran ch reduce her pain considerably. Now, That’s the best way of describing when secretary for a new branch, Bucks Cou nty. she has a bath, the pain can last anyt her condition, anyway: known as hing So now I have a working knowledg e of what from five minutes to half an hour – ‘aquagenic pruritus’, it’s a rare befo re, peop le feel like when autoimmune disease that it would last for eight hours straight. they ’re bulli ed, and I try to means that if her skin “When I tell this story, it’s to encourag e help them not go through gets wet, she gets hot blood donors,” she said. “A lot of peop le the same.” or she drinks water, she think a blood transfusion can save a life, Eighteen months ago, suffers agonising pain. but it can also change a life.” Nico la also became an The condition, which Her support for the hospital involved accredited rep and now affects a mere one in five her recently giving a speech at the official travels to different million people, means opening of their NHS Blood and work places to help that she can only take Transplant’s Therapeutic Apheresis members. “I have my a bath every few weeks Services Unit. “It was scary, but the own cake business – steeling herself to do so Congress speech course I went on last now, so I can juggle KEEPING DRY – and finds it impossible to year helped,” she said. “I also made the my Nico health issues la is effectively go out in the rain, so she has corporate cake and they said it was the ‘alle rgic arou ’ to wate nd my r. work to carry an enormous coat best they have ever had!” issues,” she said. “Being all year round to protect herself agai nst self-employed gives me the ability to sudden downpours. support a lot more members.” On top of all this, in 2012 Nicola brok e her Nicola was bullied at work because of her back in a car crash and needed to have spinal back injuries and also because of her skin surgery. It was around this point that she condition, with her employers mak ing it w.nhsbt. started experiencing bullying at work , and For more details, go to ww and difficult for her to arrange to have spec .uk needed the help of GMB. ial .co od blo w. nhs.uk, ww plasma transfusions to help with the . pain. “When I broke my back I was discrimin www.organdonation ated The good news is that these experime ntal against and pushed out of my job,” nhs.uk she said. transfusions, which she has regularly at the “My GMB officer helped and I fought my case, John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, have helped MORE INFORMATION www.gmb.org.uk 25 GMB25.Candid_25.indd 25 14/06/2016 15:37