All of these are opportunities that may not have been as accessible even just a few years ago, and it's encouraging that the UK is really starting to take notice. It's easy to think of these things as "just events", but in reality they're so much more than that. The landscape for injured servicemen is changing for the better, and ironically, it's by introducing more obstacles.
Restrained by chains, isolated from other elephants, kept in bright sunlight on hot concrete that hurts his feet - until it's time to carry the next heavy load of excited tourists on his back, controlled by a bull hook if he should put a foot wrong. Such is the life of an elephant 'working' in entertainment in Asia today.
Emotionally I'm way out of my depth. I'm just a smart-alec comedian who wants to try and help. (Or do I just like the idea?) Now the teenagers have trickled back, cheated of innocence and bringing with them their trauma and children born in slavery. Some seem dead behind the eyes, but physically alert and ready to fight or run at a moment's notice. Soon after we arrive I'm asked to entertain about 80 youths, who don't speak English and have been waiting two hours in the sun for 'the internationally famous comedian' to make them laugh. This could go wrong.
For many years stillbirth was presented to parents as 'just one of those things'. As a topic, stillbirth has been viewed as taboo and too painful to discuss, while among medical practice it has been seen as nature's way and not worth investigating.
Doubt and fear of getting it wrong must play on people's minds even if they are worried. Often there are no obvious, physical signs of neglect. But if a child you know shows signs of not being fed or clothed properly, is missing school a lot or is left unsupervised and alone inappropriately for their age, we urge people to alert the professionals. I remember speaking to Claire [not her real name], one of our many fantastic foster carers. She has been looking after a 15-year-old boy who came into her care about two years ago, having suffered years of neglect. She spoke of how he looked like an 'eight-year-old' because he had been so badly underfed...
Mrs Jeyakumari and her daughter were well known activists who had been among the crowds which mobbed British prime minister David Cameron when he visited the former war zone in Jaffna in November last year. Three months later Mrs Jeyakumari sent me a video address in which she warned that she was being followed and harassed as a result of her campaign.
I stand in solidarity with the Muslim community because some of the greatest examples of love, hospitality and compassion have been modelled to me by good friends who happen to also be Muslim, but unfortunately this is not the view of Islam or its followers that is championed through our media sources of late.
Besides all the drama currently taking place in West Africa, miracles sporadically happen right before our eyes. Just like this Ebola epidemic will write history, since last week our Ebola case management centre in Foya will probably also appear in history books. We are glad to announce that so far in Foya we discharged both the youngest, and the oldest recovered Ebola patient.
For the moment, Japan seems intent on launching its plan for a new 'scientific' whaling programme in the Southern Ocean. Whilst it has some allies, the issue drives a wedge between Japan and many other nations. Japan may be able to deflect charges against whaling, including that it is cruel, by casting such criticism as a form of anti-Japanese cultural imperialism. Our only hope is that, given the ICJ ruling is above any rhetoric or politics, perhaps those in power in Japan will be better able to see that commercial whaling is ecologically unsound, uneconomic and, in terms of international relations, disastrous.
So having being dealt disappointing cards by the NHS that left me defiant in my plea to never attend therapy and reluctant to trust anybody again, a few years later I was ushered into private therapy.
It's World Heart Day, so let's delve in to the animal kingdom and feast upon it's many wonderful varieties! From the hugely big, to the impossibly small, the fastest beating and the hardest working, animal hearts are amazingly varied. Check out these great animal heart facts!
Theo was not just developing slowly but was very ill, carrying a fatal genetic illness which would cause his muscles to waste away and kill him before he becomes a man. The pediatrician reassured us that this moment, the diagnosis, is the worst part, but stressed it would get easier as the days, weeks and months went by. But how could it? I thought.
This year wasn't my first music festival or my first time at Reading. However it was the first time I could really share the full festival experience and highlight how amazing these events are for everyone. I hope you enjoy the video report we made for you...
I am always immensely uncomfortable when anyone tries to put a monetary value on dementia, purely because I know that there is so much more to calculating the 'cost' of dementia than could ever be accurately represented by the use of pound signs. The emotional, all-encompassing, life-changing (and life-shortening) effects of dementia reach far and wide into every family affected.
It is dangerously easy to get overwhelmed by how tough life is. For this reason, I just love it when I discover something very simple that enables me and others to make a real difference to the lives of people in our communities.
When pregnant with our second child I too clearly recall my fear of a 'less than healthy' foetus. I remember believing that I wouldn't be able to cope with a child with Down's syndrome. That I wouldn't be a good enough Mum.