Bride and Groom ask guests for donations instead of gifts to rehabilitation centre in Norwich

Ami Ireland

A former patient treated by Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS trust (NCH&C) has made a heartfelt donation to Caroline House, part of the Colman Centre for Specialist Rehabilitation Services in Norwich.

Ami Ireland, 24, married husband Ewan in September this year. Instead of wedding presents, the couple urged guests to make donations to support the work of staff at Caroline House, who have been instrumental in helping Ami recover from serious illness.

Ami began to show symptoms in 2016, when her hearing deteriorated. In early 2017 she lost her central vision and started to lose mobility. At this stage, doctors were unsure of the cause of Ami’s symptoms.

In March 2018, Ami was admitted unconscious to critical care in King's Lynn. Then transferred to Intensive Care at Addenbrooke's.

Having lost the ability to walk, sit or stand up unaided, Ami received further treatment at a stroke unit in Kings Lynn. At this stage her condition remained undiagnosed, but she was referred to Caroline House for physiotherapy and occupational therapy treatment.

With her rehabilitation underway, Ami and Ewan set a date for their wedding, following four years of engagement. The motivation of such a significant event kept Ami’s spirits up as the couple slowly adapted to the realities of living with Ami’s condition.

On 14 September 2019 the couple married, with Ami able to walk down the aisle as she had dreamed of doing. In Ami’s words: “I wouldn’t have been able to do the things I’ve done without the support from staff at Caroline House”.

With their help I’ve learnt to walk again, regained stable movement in my arms and hands and been able to start writing again.”

On 29 November, at a cheque presentation of the £600 raised from fundraising and wedding donations, Ami surprised staff at Caroline House by revealing her plan to donate the same amount every year.

Grace Underwood, Specialist Occupational Therapist at the Colman Centre, said: “Ami’s announcement that she will be donating a regular amount to the unit has come as a shock to us all. We are already immensely thankful to her, Ewan and all of her friends and family who donated money instead of giving wedding gifts and to hear this will be an annual donation is an amazing surprise. Ami’s dedication to her recovery and helping others is truly inspirational and this pledge is a testament of this”.

Ami’s diagnosis has now been confirmed as Mitochondrial Disease, however further testing is needed to ascertain the specific type needs to be carried out.

Her rehabilitation continues and you can follow her story on her blog, the UndercoverSuperhero,


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