Founder Members of Life On the Level
Kevin, born and bred in Leicestershire. As a local business man has been involved with national and international business for most of his adult life
Working for many years in Brand and Consumer Marketing, he has a passion for helping organisations making more effort to communicate well with their customers and the public.
Diagnosed (out of the blue) with Ménière’s in 2004, saw some very challenging times of both physical symptoms (rotational vertigo / tinnitus / partial loss of hearing) and the associated anxiety and fear that came with this condition. Understanding how devastating and traumatic balance conditions can be and seeing how little is being done in terms of practical support for sufferers, has been the driving force behind forming the support group.
After many years of trial and error in treatment, and the passage of time, Kevin’s condition now remains broadly well managed, but always with the capacity to provide the odd “surprise”.
Kevin’s passion with this group is to help provide support for the lives’ and the well-being, of sufferers, where medical solutions often just deal with fixing the physical symptoms, and can’t or don’t, help with moral support and social support needed by those touched with these conditions. Helping to highlight employment discrimination against hidden disabilities and make noise about the dreadful lack of NHS resources is also very much on the agenda of the support group.
He firmly believes that the diagnosed names are less important for the work that the support group undertakes, and that if anyone is suffering from serious balance issues – this support group is here to help – whatever the journey to arrive with the condition. Suffers share so much in common in terms of life challenges, and whilst accurate diagnosis is vital for effective treatment, the multitude of different causes and condition names has served to work against any attempts to unify and form a general “balance collective” . Hopefully we can change this now.
Chris Richardson was born on the northern side of Leicester and moved to the Hinckley area aged 16. She did a Secretarial course at Hinckley college and this led to secretarial/clerical jobs in Hinckley, including 28 years with British Gas. She is now in the printing business with her husband.
The symptoms of Ménière’s came slowly, starting with hearing loss about 30 years ago, followed by tinnitus, and then in 1998 rotational vertigo attacks. When diagnosed at the LRI Balance Clinic she cut down on salt and caffeine and has had very few vertigo attacks since. However the hearing and balance problems continue along with the other strange things that go on in your head when you have inner ear damage.
She is a keen gardener and also enjoys Pilates; sewing and refurbishing furniture.
Chris remembers the relief she felt when first reading the “Spin” magazine (Publication by The Ménière’s Society) and the feeling of not being alone and also learning from the experiences of others.
These are the reasons she has been so keen to form a local Support Group that helps other sufferers of balance and hearing problems by sharing information and our collective knowledge on the subject.”
Adding an international dimension Jola was born in Poland on the Baltic coast but moved to the UK at a young age pursuing a career in Textile Technology for retail groups. Having a flair for fashion, interior design and the world of Art, Jola’s passion is always for finding the beauty within and enabling others to share in these emotionally positive experiences.
Married for over 30 years to Kevin and sharing his experience with Ménière’s (and its sometimes dramatic symptoms), Jola is keen to share her insight from the perspective of a family member close to a sufferer. Her experience with regards food preparation, helping others overcome anxiety and simple care techniques for those with bad balance disorders, can only help those who are facing these challenges for the first time.
With four children and three grandchildren, the importance of maintaining a happy family life is also not lost when considering supporting those in need and how disruptive these conditions can be to normal family life. Sometimes a helping hand or a kind word of support can make all the difference. Jola welcomes any contact from members, members family or friends.