Diana Shaw

Diana writes on all things Red Cross.

Posts by Diana Shaw:

You’re not alone in feeling alone

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John Ball knows what it’s like to feel lonely.

His second wife, Marie, died last year. John spent Christmas without his family or friends.

John, aged 71 from Plympton in Devon, knew that Christmas without her would be a difficult and emotional milestone.

“I knew what was coming because I’d already been through it once,” John said. His first wife, Janet, had died when she was just 44 years old.

“I knew how lonely I would feel without Marie. I didn’t want anyone to feel obliged to invite me to Christmas dinner, so I took myself away on a coach holiday to Nottingham.

“Yet simple things like watching people get off the coach in couples as I followed along by myself really brought it home how lonely I was.” More

Three real-life first aid stories where ordinary items saved the day

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Sam Hilton, who gave first aid to a neighbour who was bleeding heavily

Sam Hilton © Chris Bull/UNP

Did you know that you don’t need specialist equipment in order to help someone who is injured or hurt? No, really.

When doing first aid, there are lots of day-to-day items you can use to help someone instead.

Read three real-life first aid stories where ordinary items saved the day and you’ll soon be able to spot items around you should you ever need to help.

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“In the UK there is humanity”: how a young man is building hope for the future

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Three teenage boys play Jenga, a game in which they build a tabletop tower out of wooden blocks, at a group for refugees

A Surviving to thriving project group for young refugees © Dan Burwood/British Red Cross

Seventeen-year-old Hama* prefers not to talk about being forced to flee his home country of Iraq.

Instead, his focus is on his new life in the UK.

“Arriving in the UK, I was born again,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier. There is a lot of badness in my country but in the UK there is humanity.”

Hama came to the UK from Calais last year. He was one of the unaccompanied children transferred here when the “Jungle” camp closed.

Arriving in a new and unfamiliar country was a strange and exciting experience for him.

“I saw the cars drive on the opposite side of the road from my country. It was different and a bit strange for me. That was the sign that I knew I’m in England now. I will never forget that moment.”

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“How a wrong number changed my life”: a disabled volunteer’s story

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Mark Belton, a disabled volunteer, wears a British Red Cross t-shirt and smiles

Mark Belton, Red Cross volunteer © British Red Cross

“I think back on how I felt six or seven years ago and so much has changed,” Mark Belton said.

Mark first noticed that his sight was getting worse in his teens. His mum, nan and sister all had an inherited eye condition called retinitis pigmentosa.

“By the age of 18 or 19 I knew I had it too.

“My eyesight was deteriorating,” Mark said.

“It was a real blow, it was half expected but it sort of knocks you back. I had just got my new job then as an upholsterer.”

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“How I helped my baby having a febrile seizure”

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Leanne Barnett and her daughter Maia, who had a febrile seizure

Leanne and her daughter Maia, © Dave Fleming/UNP

Would you be able to spot a baby or child having a febrile seizure?

Two thirds of parents surveyed said they did not know what a febrile seizure was, or how to recognise or treat one.*

Luckily for 18-month-old Maia from Swindon, her mum Leanne Barnett did know what to do.

Back when Maia was six months old, Leanne decided to take a baby and child first aid course with the British Red Cross.

It was a good decision. When Maia suffered a febrile seizure, Leanne was able to give her daughter exactly the help she needed.

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Fleeing Myanmar: portraits of lives overturned

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After fleeing their home in Myanmar, Shovika Mia holds her newborn daughter in a makeshift tent in Bangladesh

© photo by AF Ghani/IFRC

In a makeshift camp in Bangladesh, 25-year-old Shovika Mia holds her newborn daughter.

Shovika gave birth to baby Nur Halima in the hills while fleeing her home in Myanmar.

She and her husband, Shona, are among the more than 436,000 people who have fled a sudden increase in violence in Rakhine State.

Back home, the young couple had a house and four cows that provided a stable income.

But their house was burned in the violence. And as they fled, their cows were shot.

Now, they live in an informal camp for new arrivals to Bangladesh.

Shona, 27, has found work as a day labourer for around £2.70 a day. And although Shovika feels weak herself, her main worry is for her baby’s future.

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“Unbearable conditions” facing families fleeing Myanmar violence

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A woman from Myanmar holds a baby and looks back as people around her walk uphill on a muddy path

© AJ Ghani/Bangladesh Red Crescent

In the pouring monsoon rain, a family trudges through the mud on a journey that could be the difference between life and death.

This is the border between Myanmar, also known as Burma, and Bangladesh.

In recent weeks, thousands of people have fled their homes in Myanmar with almost no possessions and entered a country in the grip of terrible floods.

Many more remain stranded in border areas without food, water or shelter.

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“I couldn’t save anything but the children’s lives” – South Asia floods

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Mother and child stand in the rain as the South Asia floods hit India

Mother and child in India © Hanna Butler/IFRC

The worst monsoon floods in decades have claimed thousands of lives and continue to devastate communities across South Asia.

More than 41 million people across Nepal, India and Bangladesh have been affected. An area roughly the size of the UK is under water.

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