05/07/2017 11:13 BST

NHS Birthday: Five HuffPost UK Bloggers Explain How The Health Service Saved Them And Their Loved Ones

'Thank you for doing the job you do, which may well lead to me being alive for longer.'

The NHS turns the grand old age of 69 today, with many paying tribute to the health service for all it has done.

The service began on 5 July 1948, following recommendations made in the Beveridge Report, with the intent of providing care from “the cradle to the grave”. 

On its 69th birthday, many paid tribute to the service...

Here are five HuffPost UK bloggers who have explained how they owe their lives or the lives of their loved ones to the NHS.

1. Thanks For My Life, NHS

Laura Pearson
Laura Pearson with her son

“To the strangers who removed my breasts last week, thank you.

“Thank you for doing the job you do, which may well lead to me being alive for longer; to me spending more days and weeks and years with my family.

“Thank you to the two surgeons who worked side by side to cut the time of my operation in half, removing and then reconstructing one breast each. Thank you to the anaesthetist who watched over me, making sure I stayed alive but unconscious.

“Thank you to the anaesthetist’s assistant, for being kind and holding my hand as I drifted off to sleep.”

Read Laura Pearson’s full blog here.

2. An Open Letter To This NHS

Gabrielle Taylor
Gabrielle Taylor paid tribute to the NHS for its care of her father

“I know you’ve had some bad press of late so I just wanted to see how you’re feeling and let you know that despite your troubles, I’m still your number one fan.

“I’m writing this whilst sat in one of your wards. It’s extraordinarily clean, one of your super human staff members has just been in to turn my dad and I can hear him being a cheeky sod to them, so I think he’s on the mend.”

Read Gabrielle Taylor’s full blog here

3. From NHS Director To Mental Health Inpatient In 10 Days

Mandy Stevens
Mandy Stevens found herself as an inpatient while suffering from depression

“Perhaps not the most flattering photo of me, but I’m sharing this awful picture and my story to help increase understanding of the impact of mental illness and to celebrate my recovery.

“Mental illness will affect 1 in 4 of us during our lifetime and I guess now it’s my turn.

“I am recovering from the most terrible depression that ripped the heart and soul out of me. Very unexpectedly an NHS Acute Inpatient ward in Hackney has been my home for the past 12 weeks.”

Read Mandy Stevens’ full blog here.

4. I Will March For NHS Staff, I Owe Them My Life

Mark Serwotka
Mark Serwotka blogged about why he marched to support the NHS

“I’ve written before about the incredible care I received at Papworth that meant I could be home for Christmas, just 19 days after having my heart transplant. About the dedication and skill of the staff and the pressures they’re under.

“And I’ve spoken about how  -  away from the disgusting rhetoric that has characterised much of the political debate in this country in recent years  -  our health service is not only kept going, but improved by people from around the world who have chosen to come and work in it.

“Migrants welcome here’ is a great slogan. But make no bones about it, migrants saved my life, so I say thank god they’re here and long may they come.”

Read Mark Serwotka’s full blog here.

5. I Owe the NHS My Life

Tom Haward
Tom Haward said the NHS has helped him to be more optimistic about his mental illness

“I am ill. I am mentally ill.

“I am always walking the tightrope of depression where a misstep could lead to self harm or, worse, suicide.

“That tightrope though has been made much wider because of the NHS. With the wonder of the NHS I do not walk a path where I cry out in hate but smile in gratitude. Depression always tries to steer the rudder toward storms but the NHS has helped me steer my mind toward positivity. It’s not easy to walk the path of optimism but it’s enlightening to do it and the NHS has enabled me to do that.”

Read Tom Haward’s full blog here.