I am Esther Baston, during this lockdown I have been going on my walking machine every day. Firstly, I walked for ten minutes then I have been building my time up over these few weeks and I am walking for 28 minutes now. I did a charitable walk for NICE – Centre for Movement Disorders, my challenge was to walk for two miles over weeks.  I wanted to raise as much money for NICE as I could during this hard time because I was one of the first children went to Conductive Education so it has been a really special charity to me.  

I raised money for St Luke’s Hospice in Sheffield because my fiancé, Ben Stancer, had throat cancer and sadly Ben passed away at St Luke’s in July 2019.  

Ben was everything to me, he was my lover, my best friend and he was my partner in crime.  When Ben and me got engaged, we went to Disney World in Florida to celebrate our engagement and we had an amazing time.  

I think this year 2020 has been a really tough year for everyone with the coronavirus, everyone is living with fear and charities are the last thing on people’s minds.  However, people like Captain Tom Moore and many people with disabilities have achieved to raise money for charities.  These people’s stories have brought hope and escapism from these scary times. 

I was one of the first children, when NICE began in 1987, along with ten other children and their parents, who went to the Peto Institute in Hungary. I was out there for six months and that was the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am in my 30s now and I have been able to live a full life because of the motivation and help from NICE, even achieving a BA degree. 

Now I am a volunteer working for NICE in the fundraising department. The reason I have chosen to do this is to support the charity by promoting their amazing work in providing a service of improving the life of children and adults with movement disorders. 

Also, I go to NICE to have weekly sessions to do Conductive Education at Cannon Hill House, and throughout the lockdown I have attended remote group sessions on Zoom.  The reason I go to my sessions is because I have to work on my physical challenges, which I have to face every day. 

I have been able to carry on with my Conductive Education sessions during the lockdown because the conductors offered online sessions every week.  I thought the online sessions were really good, I still felt that I had a workout in my bungalow. Also I felt that the connection between NICE and me was still there by Zoom and emailing. 

NICE is also people’s social link where people can have that social connection when they come to their session, with anyone involved at NICE, e.g. volunteers, cleaners and people in the fundraising office. With Coronavirus, that has had to stop this year. I think this Coronavirus has had a big impact on people’s mental health by loneliness, fear and feeling scared.

Esther Baston
NICE Volunteer