A RETURN to work scheme as a florist is proving a lifeline for a Solihull woman struck down by a life changing illness.
Three and a half years ago Cirian-Marie Beddoes contracted tapeworm in the brain, leading to seizures and epilepsy.
The NHS dietician found it impossible to work on computer screens as her illness got progressively worse, the left hippocampus of her brain slowly degenerating.
Desperate to arrest the slide and find something creative to engage in, the Government’s Access to Work scheme offered her a chance to do something creative and train as a florist.
“I couldn’t work on screens and as a result found I couldn’t do my job,” said Cirian, whose flower shop Bramble Bees, is in Main Street, Dickens Heath.
“I needed to find other ways of staying active and alive, and now I’ve done the training and I’m a florist.
“Access to Work has been brilliant.
“It’s a scheme where they try to get people into places where they fit better.
“I would be sat in a corner sobbing my heart out without it.”
The change in focus came an important time too as Cirian’s seizures were getting worse, requiring her to need round the clock care.
“It’s so peaceful and soothing here and I can stop and take a break when I need to and still feel useful and you know, touch wood, I haven’t had a seizure in three months,” she said.
“I’ve had amazing support from my husband Mike and my daughter Ella is my carer and a wonderful woman.
“It’s been a journey – 22 years an NHS dietician and now a florist, and a proud one too.”
For more on Cirian’s business visit www.bramblebeesflorist or call 0121 803 6822.
CIRIAN is doing her bit to raise awareness of epilepsy.
“There are 40 different types of epilepsy – it’s a lot more than just rolling around and shaking – it’s terrifying,” she says.
She’s currently trying to get in shape by doing a Fat Bird to 5k course so she can raise money for the Epilepsy Society and SUDEP – sudden unexpected death in epilepsy.
For more information visit https://epilepsysociety.org.uk/.