I originally wrote this post in my very first blog,”The Goings-on of my little world” , in June 2009. Since then, Mark has continued affecting more and more families like mine in life-changing positive ways. He is no longer an NHS nurse, but works as an independent special needs advisor, and I am so proud to share that a new centre to help these families will soon be opened as part of his work. He continues to be my guardian angel, because that is who he is. Regardless that I am no longer officially on his books, he continues to see as as one of “his families”. His kindness, courage, wisdom and compassion know no bounds. He ceaselessly inspires and amazes me, and I have no way to truly convey my gratitude to how he helped our family.
The Special Help 4 Special Needs Centre will open on October 27th 2018 at 1pm. The address is 195 Godstone Road, Whyteleafe CR3 0EL.
If you are widely known on the internet and in the SEND community, please share this far and wide. If you have contacts in the local or national press, likewise. Let’s try and finally get Mark the recognition and support he so richly deserves.
Mark… thank you
And then earlier this year I met a real, solid, guardian angel. He does not have wings, and he will be the first to say that he does not really fit the “angelic” description. But he has been my guardian angel in the last few months more than I could ever have hoped or prayed for. He has laughed with me in good times, held my hand in bad times, and when I fell a great height into a pit of despair and hopelessness, he caught me. He refused to drop me, and made me believe that I could get up again, stand straight and continue to fight the battles that were coming my way.
My guardian angel’s name is Mark Brown.
Many people in the “disabled” community know him, either because he comes into their homes to help them help their children, or because they hear him talk at meetings. The sex education talk tickled many of us mothers whose children do not understand the world in a conventional manner – no space for innuendos and subtleties!!!
The outreach teachers from various special schools know him well, as do the consultants at Epsom hospital. The question on everyone’s lips at the end of his talks is “How can we get referred to you?”.
Mark is an unsung hero. I and my little horde are known as one of “his families”. He cares for us with passion and professionalism, and raises the nursing profession to its highest level.
To my shame, and no doubt that of others, I have been so caught up in the difficulties of life that I have taken his help for granted these past few months. And I fear that the families he helps are all caught up in troubling, emotional and exhausting lives that leave little time to shout across the hilltops, “This nurse is my life raft! He makes it possible to live.”
To a small thank you, Mark only replies, “It’s my job.”.
I want to shout in the street, in the offices of bureaucrats everywhere in the NHS and other public services:
“Look at this man. Look at the dedication he pours into his work every single day. Look at the difference he makes to so many lives today, tomorrow and for the rest of their lives. Watch him with a child who does not know how to communicate. See how he enters their world, at their own pace, taking the time to find the special language that will move them forward.
See the care with which he gently pulls a family together, finding the weak spots others have missed. See the smile on a sister’s face as she realises she too can have some help.
Hear his honesty. Listen to him speak to parents about the future, one they never wanted to face but which must be dealt with. Hear him list the options, tell the optimism within the suddenly restricted world these parents dread.
Call him on the phone. Hear him answer, his voice always calm, always caring. See him move, drive, arrive to help. Watch him knock and enter, calling out a bright, “Hello!”, bringing the sunshine of hope along with him.
See him watch, and listen and wait for the tears to stop. Then see him pick up the telephone, and talk and talk until the men and women behind their desks agree to give the help. See him make a cup of tea, calm an autistic child and return to Mum, waiting for the storm to pass a little.
Follow him one day, to catch a glimpse of what he does. Follow him two days, to see the families he helps. Follow him a week, and learn how much he counts.
Then ask: why did we not know him before? What can we do to help him? How can we recognise the value of this man, his work, his time?”
Mark Brown. In his own words, a nurse. His work is with children and adults with learning disabilities. He is absolutely a professional.
Mark Brown. In the words of many of “his families”, a guardian angel. His work is with our children, disabled but no less human, no less worthwhile. His commitment to our children extends to our families, because “what is a child without his family?”. And so his work is with us, through the tears and the laughter, the bad times and the good. He cares. He is absolutely a Nurse.