Fun, Friendship and Freedom

April 17, 2024
Image of our guest Abi Andrews posing for the camera in front of the Marine Lake. There's a pink overlay on the image with the text: Fun, friendship and freedom

Our cover star Abi Andrews, a regular visitor to our Sandpipers centre, explains why her Revitalise breaks bring her so much joy.

You’ve heard the saying that ‘laughter is the best medicine’ and it’s certainly true for many of our guests at Revitalise. For Abi Andrews, a regular guest at our Sandpipers centre near Southport, Merseyside, even short breaks away from her routine at home give her and her family a lift that improves their mental and physical wellbeing. Abi describes the joy that comes from her visits,

Having a good time, going out, being with my friends, letting my hair down and doing fun activities. And laughing.”

Abi is a survivor of childhood cancer, and the illness and its treatment left her with a lifetime of poor health and frequent hospital admissions. Treatment meant that she didn’t go through puberty, so she sounds and looks young, which means that people meeting her for the first time sometimes underestimate her. When she comes to Revitalise, though, she can be herself and forget her worries.

I’ve been coming here for a while, so I’ve built up a relationship with many of the staff. I know that I’m looked after, my mum knows that I’m being looked after and having fun, and that I’m safe.”

Despite her sunny outlook, Abi admits that away from her breaks, she’s not always able to see the bright side of life, but staying at Sandpipers helps her rediscover her inner joy.

Going to Revitalise combats my severe depression and sometimes I suffer from unhealthy, negative thoughts. Coming here, I can leave all that behind me, I meet my friends, go on trips, have a lot of banter with staff and volunteers, and the other guests.”

The break from care helps Abi’s parents stay on top of things.

If I’m having a bad day and my carer isn’t around, one of my parents has to stay at home or they sometimes drag me round with them, which isn’t good for any of us. [A Revitalise break] just enables them to recharge and look a er me and it gives them an opportunity to have some time away from me. They might catch up on housework or some home improvements. Or they might have some time off themselves and get away. They just have some time out for themselves.”

(This blog is part of a special feature from our yearly spring magazine. To read the complete magazine, please visit Revitalise spring magazine 2024.)