The Mighty Logo

To the NHS on Its 70th Birthday: Thank You for Caring for Me and My Family

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Happy Birthday, NHS!

I can’t believe you’re 70 years old! You certainly don’t look it, haha. But seriously, thank you. Without you I would’ve become an orphan before I was 8 years old. I wouldn’t have a younger brother. And I wouldn’t be alive today.

The UK National Health Service is an ingenious health system that stands for universal healthcare regardless of one’s personal wealth.

When I was in primary school my mother had a blood transfusion. What should have been a routine appointment became a life and death situation that continued for roughly six months.

I remember the sinking feeling I had that night sitting in the waiting room with
my uncle. My younger brother sleeping on the other side of him worn out from my uncle and I semi-jumping at the arrival of every doctor or nurse into the room. I had never been so scared in my life.

But as cheesy as it sounds, my belief, even at that young age, in the doctors, nurses and support staff of the NHS remained strong.

As you know well, NHS, I have long since been a regular of your hospitals and clinics. Before my chronic conditions developed I was a regular accompaniment to my mum. Mum is one of the 12,500-15,000 people with sickle cell disease in the UK. Whenever my mum had one of her many appointments at the hematology department, little A.G. was always a reluctant tag-along. I knew the admin team by name and the phlebotomist always reassured me that the waiting time wouldn’t be that long… now that was often not the case but I appreciated their attempts nonetheless. And one of the multiple specialist nurses that helped deliver me would often pass by us and recount my birth. Jokingly rebuking me for “scaring the living daylights out of him” with my birth via emergency C-section.

My dear NHS, I have a debt I cannot repay. You delivered me with care and dedication. You have saved my mum’s life more times than I want to count. Protected our small family unit from illness and grief.

You: over-worked doctors, nurses, technicians, cleaning staff, hospitality workers, volunteers and more. You: woefully underfunded trusts and departments. You: leader in advanced treatments and technologies. You still remain to me a beacon of hope. You still symbolize understanding and equality in this current global climate of hate and greed. You still work tirelessly 24 hours every day to support every single UK citizen and this humble patient thanks you.

Forever awed,

Photo via NHS Facebook page

Originally published: July 8, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home