A History of TREAT Trust Wales
by Mike Davies, husband of Melanie, its Founder
Why is TREAT Trust Wales (Treatment, Rehabilitation, Exercise And Therapy) so dear to our hearts? First and foremost, it is Mel's brain-child. In 1996, some sixteen years after having been paralysed in a motor cycle accident, she was persuaded to become a trustee of the Wales Sports Centre for the Disabled, and forged a link allowing patients from Rookwood Hospital to be brought there to use the modern equipment in a socially inclusive milieu, a scheme which continues to this day. But what was there for those who left the hospital and especially those returning to south-west Wales? There is nothing remotely comparable.
Just as Mel was formulating her concept for a similar facility in her home region, along came the diagnosis of breast cancer and her experience of surgery and the post-operative regime. Transforming her vision, this broadened her strategy to include not only those with disability but anyone with an array of life-changing conditions, all of whom might benefit from physical and social re-inclusion in society. Based on a centre for health and well-being, the trust's facility would seek to offer a warm and welcoming atmosphere not only for sufferers themselves but for family and friends to participate together.
As an orthopaedic surgeon, I had appreciated just how much something of this nature might help my patients after their formal hospital treatments had ended and I welcomed the concept at its inception in 2001. At this time, however, I was intent on enjoying impending retirement with my wife, Karin, who had selflessly nurtured our family and my career for thirty-five years and I declined to become a trustee. My time was Karin's. Fourteen weeks before my final day at work, and while I was abroad, all this was shattered when she suffered a stroke and within days she was dead. I mused on what might have been. Could she have lived to make a recovery from the dense left-sided paralysis? Realistically, extremely unlikely. How would she have coped? Would she have coped? What could we have done to have aided with maximising any recovery? The stark reality is that she would have been severely disabled and there were no inspirational facilities available to have helped. In short, no TREAT. I needed to join TREAT Trust Wales - others would need it, even though Karin had never had the opportunity.