Health First, Phil Hume ‘My Story’

Before I went on the Health Champions course, I had no experience, no knowledge and did not realise how important health and your body is. I was given the opportunity to show and learn more about health. I enjoyed The Health First course and the opportunity to learn and pick up information. I liked meeting the trainers who delivered training to us. I enjoyed making new friends. This project has provided people with a learning disability a chance to show what they know and what they can do.

I learnt many different things during the course. For example:
* Personal Hygiene
* We need to change our clothes every day
* Bath or shower every day
* Wash our hair every other day
* Wear deodorant every day
* That it is respectful to ourselves and others to be clean and make sure you don’t smell

The Healthy Cooking and Food Labelling was one on my favourite sessions. I learnt how to make carrot and coriander soup and Irish soda bread. I feel confident that I could make and cook it myself. I also learnt how important it is to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. This helps you have good health.

Each week we did an evaluation and were asked to suggest individual things to help us to improve our health. I decided to buy oily fish and salmon and buy fruit. I have done this every week from the 5th session. People have seen a change in me and how much healthier I am.

The most interesting session was about cancer awareness. I learnt that our body is made up of tiny cells and that our bodies are always making cells. When you have cancer, your body makes too many cells. Sometimes these appear as lumps or bumps on our bodies. Sometimes these lumps/bumps are benign, which means not cancer, but sometimes they are malignant which means it is cancer. Lots of people can recover from cancer if catching it early it can be treated, but others can die from this illness.
 
I learnt that you can’t catch cancer from people. There are signs sometimes for example; being tired, losing weight and any lumps have to be checked out with your doctor as soon as possible. There are over 200 kinds of cancer that people can get.

Since being on the course the changes I have made in my life are:

* I now go on walks with my friend Michael.
* I have joined the Monday Afternoon walking group.
* I sometimes go to the park and have a go on the exercise machines to keep myself fit.
* I also now eat healthier foods for example:
* I eat more fruit
* I now eat fish such as mackerel and salmon.
* I’m trying to cut down on cigarettes, but it’s going to be hard.
* I now feel fit and more relaxed and more aware of my own health and how to look after myself properly.

What kind of things would you like health professionals to provide for you?

I would like doctors and nurses to provide written information in a letter that is in easy read. They should check that you understand things and explain things clearly if you don’t. The health professionals should make sure they speak to you and not the support or care worker.

My 3 key messages to people would be:
1.) Everyone should shower or bath every day. It is important to properly dry yourself and be clean and also wear clean clothing frequently.
2.) Have a annual health check once a year with your doctor as it can detect things early
3.) Eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

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