When I was 9, I spent 2 weeks in St. Charles’ Children’s Hospital West London fighting for my life. Chicken pox had turned into Encephalitis. I was in a pretty bad way & didn’t know if I was coming or going.

At the time, I didn’t really feel anything apart from sick. I had awful headaches brought on by watching TV (I loved ‘The Little Vampire’). My Dad would make me laugh when he was leaving. He’d keep popping his head round the door ‘see you later alligator’ then a few seconds later he’d come back ‘in a while crocodile’. I would laugh, then once he’d gone and I’d stopped laughing, I’d vomit.

It’s only after recovery & after some living that I can look back and appreciate what was happening. I was dying. I was saved by the NHS. ?

Over the past few years, I’ve been reading these kind of headlines…’The NHS killed my mother’ or ‘The NHS is on its last legs’… ‘NHS at breaking point’ and I notice that I don’t feel so confident anymore. What if I have an accident? Will I be waiting in a corridor for 36 hours? Should I get private health insurance… hang on I can’t afford private health insurance… sh** i’m finished. I’m going to the pub.

I recently had to call on the NHS again when I found a ‘lump’. The whole process from GP to treatment took only 10 days. The staff at Guy’s were brilliant, and there’s all this amazing new tech now facilitating the treatments & procedures.

So why am I reading all this negative stuff about the NHS in the papers? There are ways to report and there are ways to manipulate opinion. What is the agenda here?


I want people to know that the NHS has our back. I want the NHS to know that I’m grateful and do not take it for granted.

If I was in my current position in the USA i.e. with no health insurance, I’d be getting a bill of $500 (£400ish) just for the local anaesthetic. £400!! to numb my boob so that they could do what they needed to do.


My sister had a marrowbone transplant. How much would that cost?

My brother has regular blood transfusions. How much for a bag of blood?

What about when I was 9 and Encephalitis was mangling my brain?

How much to deliver a baby?




If you are reading this and have a similar story. DEM want to hear it.
DEM has set up a project where you can leave your story where it happened. At the hospital, where the work is happening right now. Our stories will be there with all the staff, supporting and encouraging them and others.

How do I join DEM?

By using a free Augmented Reality app called Traces (think Pokemon Go) you can upload a soundbite, a photo or a video and leave it at the hospital.

You don’t have to be at the hospital to leave your Trace. You could live in Australia and leave your story at the Royal London. Traces lets you do that.

How to get ‘The Axe’ & leave your Trace

  1. Download Traces to your phone
  2. Go to the ‘Featured Maps’ and find DEM Map.
  3. Tap DEM map and add to favourites.
  4. To leave your Trace, click the + on the DEM map
  5. Share your Trace on Twitter @tw33tDEM #popDEM


DEM left 8 different stories at

  1. Barts
  2. The Royal London
  3. St. Mary’s
  4. The Old Paddington Green Children’s Hosp
  5. Great Ormond Street
  6. St Charles’ Hospital
  7. University College London
  8. Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Hackney Rd. Now flats)