I received a lovely surprise earlier this week, when I found out that the lovely Carole Scrafton, of FibroFlutters, had nominated me for a 2018 Liebster Award.

The Liebster Award 2018 is an award that exists within the digital world, and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. The award was founded by Jack Henry, a.k.a. The Global Aussie, in 2011. Liebster is a German world which translates to ‘a person very much liked or loved by someone else’ in English. The award is a way to be discovered but also to connect and support the blogging community. Here are Carole’s nominations, which included me – thank you so much again Carole!

Floral

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award, and choose to accept it, the following rules must be adhered to:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and put a link to their blog on your blog.
  2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a widget on your site. Award images can be found here.
  3. Write a small post about what makes you passionate about blogging.
  4. Provide 10 random facts about yourself.
  5. Answer the 11 questions that the person who nominated you asked.
  6. Nominate 5 to 11 blogs that you feel would enjoy blogging about this award.
  7. Ask your nominees to answer 11 questions of your own choice.
  8. List these rules in your blog post. Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
  9. Inform the people/blogs that you have nominated, informing them of their recent  nomination for the 2018 Liebster Award. You should provide a link for them to your post so that they are fully aware of the award.
  10. Post a comment in the comments section of the official Liebster Award 2018 announcement, so that your post and your blog can be officially judged.

Entries for the 2018 Liebster Award started on Monday 01 January 2018 and will end on Tuesday 25 December 2018. The winner will be announced on Monday 31 December 2018. The prize is the accolade of being the winner of The Liebster Award 2018! So without further ado, here’s my two penn’orth!

What makes me passionate about blogging

I’ve always enjoyed writing. When I was younger, it was a way for me to express some of my thoughts and feelings, which I guess remains one of the reasons why I continue to write in 2018! While I was studying my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences, I established a blog called Why Infinity, and started blogging about a series of different things related to medicine and healthcare (as well as some other interesting scientific things). Bizarre brains, To shake or not to shake, and A sky full of colours were just a few of the blog posts I published on Why Infinity. Admittedly, with other competing commitments, Why Infinity fell off my list of priorities. However, at the same time, I was transitioning into my role as a patient advisor and researcher, taking on an increasing number of commitments. With that, came a need to talk about all of the things that I am involved with. People I was speaking with were unaware of things that were of complete relevance to them, and I wanted to help change that. I wanted people to know of all the opportunities that exist out there, in relation to health and social care, and so I found myself setting up my own website and public social media platforms, blogging about the things that I love and live for each and every day! I have no hesitation in saying that my personal experiences of healthcare have driven me to blog – not only can I now help to share opportunities and information with other people, but I can also write about my own experiences, which may just help one other person to think about something in a different way. It is this – my commitment to changing the way in which we talk about, and shape the health and wellbeing of ourselves and our communities, which enables me to continue writing – and long will this continue!

Not only can I now help to share opportunities and information with other people, but I can also write about my own experiences, which may just help one other person to think about something in a different way.”

Award

Ten random facts about myself

  1. When I’m not working, I’m always reasonably late for lunch or coffee with friends… My excuse being that I am an optimist and try to do more than I physically can do in a set period of time… or I can just keep up with tradition that dates back to 1993 – I was born over three weeks late after all!
  2. When I was 11, I presented a small section of the Paul O’Grady show live from the Trafford Centre!
  3. I broke my finger at school simply by pulling a chair out at the start of class… oh dear!
  4. Throughout primary school, secondary school and college, I was adamant that my career would be in teaching… that was until I was converted by research!
  5. I had a very special great Auntie, Bessie, who I adored. She reached the incredible age of 105 before she sadly passed away in 2013.
  6. I drove over 3000 miles (4500 kilometres) when I was on holiday in Australia in 2013.
  7. I have a titanium screw in my left hip after a slipped capital femoral epiphysis in 2004.
  8. I’m lactose intolerant, which isn’t ideal for a cake and coffee lover (thank heavens for Holland & Barrett’s Lactase enzyme replacement tablets!)
  9. The Backstreet Boys follow me on Twitter!
  10. I have two different sized feet – my left foot is size 11, my right foot is size 9 – thanks arthritis for that!

My answers to Carole’s eleven questions for me

  1. What country do you currently live in and is it where you were born? 
    I was born, and continue to live in the United Kingdom. I’m from a town called Bolton, which is 10 miles (16 kilometres) northwest of Manchester.
  2. How long have you been writing/blogging?
    For around five years now. I started to formally blog for other online platforms in 2013, which evolved into a blog series I set up in 2014 called ‘Why Infinity’. My official blog on this website was then launched in 2016.
  3. What is the subject matter of your blog?
    Healthcare and wellbeing. The content of my blog posts are certainly varied, ranging from scientific discoveries, to opportunities for people to get involved in shaping healthcare research, and everything in between! There’s also the odd blog or two like this which are a little outside of the box, including ones of my travels abroad, and ones where I reflect on certain events or situations.
  4. How often do you post?
    At least once a week. I have a schedule of upcoming blogs – some which are drafts, others which are purely in the pipeline. I try to plan for the months ahead so I know that there’ll be at least some content published each week, though some things do crop up at the last minute – so you may see two or three a week! 
  5. Do you just blog about your own health, or do you share other stories by other bloggers?
    Definitely both, though sometimes this can be indirectly. I certainly blog about my own health and experiences, but I also do the same for family and friends who are going through health difficulties. I also get to meet so many different people, who help to provide thoughts, concepts and ideas for blog posts. However, I’ve not had any one individual write a guest blog on my website about their experiences, though it’s definitely on my radar – feel free to get in touch if you’d like to do so!
  6. What are your main interests when you think about research?
    Well, seeing as I live and breath research quite literally 24/7, I’m definitely not short of a response here! I am really interested in self-care, and more specifically, self- and shared-management of long-term health conditions. In other words, enabling and empowering people with long-term health conditions, particularly young people, to take control of their health and wellbeing (the self-management concept), but doing so with the support and knowledge of their families, healthcare professionals and teachers (the shared-management concept). This is essentially the topic of my PhD thesis, focused specifically on children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). I do, however, have lots of other research areas of interest and expertise in the health and wellbeing world, particularly within rheumatology. These include digital technologies, social media, peer support, public involvement in research, and transition from paediatric to adult health care. Told you I talk all day about research!
  7. If you could help with research, would you? what would you like to do?
    Well, I am blessed and privileged to be able to help with research already – and so the answer is yes – I quite literally jump at any opportunity to get involved in research – either as a participant, or as a patient research partner, helping researchers and other professionals to design, conduct, and analyse research. I’m already doing my PhD which is an incredible opportunity to develop my own identity as an independent researcher; however, I continue to act as a patient research partner on so many different projects. The majority are focused on people with rheumatological conditions, including JIA, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia. However, I’m also involved in other projects more generally looking at improving what the National Health Service in England does with patient feedback, and developing mobile app technologies to facilitate patient participation, engagement and involvement in research – it’s all just so exciting! There’s no better feeling to know that you’re playing a small part in paving the way for the future health and wellbeing of people around the world.
  8. When blogging, do you share up to date research news relevant to your health conditions, or interests if not writing in connection to chronic illness?
    I certainly try to! I may not write a comprehensive blog post about recent developments as much as I would like to, but I certainly try to cover these in one form or another on a frequent basis. You’ll also often see research updates on Facebook and Twitter in more of a micro-blog format. Interests are definitely covered in blogs on a regular basis, particularly opportunities for other people to get involved in different things.
  9. What are your favourite distractions or hobbies?
    I adore travelling – actually, I’m addicted to it! I just love to visit new places, experience different cultures, and meet new people. I am truly blessed to be able to travel a lot as a result of the work that I do. My thirst for travel has also seen me become addicted to cruising – something I never thought would happen! I’ve got two under my belt already, and I’m super excited for my third cruise in May 2018, where I’ll be off to Malta and Greece! It’ll be the perfect opportunity to get out and about with my camera. If you’ve not already guessed from my Instagram feed, I’m a bit of a photographer too. When I’m not travelling or snapping away, I’ll be found at the theatre, or out wining and dining with friends and family!
  10. If you could select one health problem from your list of health conditions to delete permanently what would it be?
    Wow, this is a question and a half. Though to be honest, the one health problem I wish I could delete permanently is Crohn’s disease. While all of my health problems are a real pain at times, I’ve been used to living with the aches and pains that arthritis has inflicted on me for as long as I remember, though I have adapted ways of doing things when I’m having a bad day, and I’ve generally got a much higher pain tolerance than I would without the condition. Similar goes for fibromyalgia, which can be really frustrating, especially some of the cognitive symptoms, but I’ve learned to live with it. The one thing which I still struggle with is Crohn’s. There’s the excruiciating abdominal pain which I can only describe as feeling like I am being repeatedly stabbed. Or the painful bloating of my abdomen to the point where it feels like my insides are going to burst. Or the fear of having an accident anywhere outside of the home. They’re just a few of the things that I, and so many others, have to cope with each day.
  11. How do you percieve that your life would improve once you’d deleted your chosen health problem?
    Crohn’s disease is the one thing I’d love to get rid of. It would be a huge weight off my shoulders. I would be able to go about my daily life (to you and the world, in the exact same way that I do now), but I’d be doing what I do each day without the constant worry, anticipation, pain, and inconvenience that Crohn’s disease inflicts on my body. However, despite the many challenges that Crohn’s disease (and my other conditions) present, living with them has certainly shaped me into the person I am today.

The eleven bloggers I nominate for the 2018 Liebster Award

Well this was a difficult decision! I follow so many wonderful bloggers, and I could equally write a very long list of people here. However, there are eleven individuals who I would particularly like to honour for their endless work to make a difference to our society, particularly within the world of health and wellbeing. They are:

  1. Sophie Ainsworth, blogger and founder of RAiISE.
  2. Nicole Brown, blogger and founder of Nicole-Brown.co.uk.
  3. Rebecca Coles, blogger and founder of Once Upon a Fibro Time. 
  4. Simon Denegri, blogger and founder of Simon Denegri’s Lay Review.
  5. Rosie Heaton, blogger and founder of Rosie Heaton PR.
  6. Jen Horonjeff, blogger and founder of Savvy Cooperative.
  7. Alison Morton, blogger and Chair of Newcastle Fibromyalgia Support Group.
  8. Jenny Preston, blogger and founder of Jenny Preston Blog.
  9. Derek Stewart OBE, blogger and founder of Make a Difference.
  10. Lucy Watts MBE, blogger and founder of Lucy’s Light.
  11. Chris Winson, blogger and founder of Breathe Underwater.

Thank you Sophie, Nicole, Rebecca, Simon, Rosie, Jen, Alison, Jenny, Derek, Lucy and Chris for all that you each do in helping to make our world a better place, by using your voice as a catalyst for change. Feel free to repeat this exercise yourselves, but I understand you’re all busy, so enjoy and celebrate the recognition, regardless!

My eleven questions for the bloggers I have nominated

  1. If you had the power to change one thing in the world right now, what would it be?
  2. Imagine that you’re living in the year 2118 – 100 years from now. What do you think health and social care would look like?
  3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
  4. What motivates you to do what you do each day?
  5. What did you want to do for a career when you was at school?
  6. Who has been your biggest supporter in life?
  7. Can you describe one item that is on your bucket list?
  8. Who is the most famous person that you’ve ever met?
  9. What’s your favourite thing to do to relax and unwind?
  10. If you received £1 million pounds or $1 million dollars tomorrow, what would you do with it?
  11. If you could give one piece of advice to somebody starting out blogging, what would it be?

I can’t wait to see the responses to some of these questions!

Thank you

Thank you once again to Carole, from FibroFlutters, for nominating me for the 2018 Liebster Award. Congratulations to all those who have been nominated, and I hope you can pass the positivity on to others!

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Written by simonrstones

Simon Stones BSc (Hons) is an award-winning patient leader, advocate and researcher from Manchester in the UK, who was the winner of the international WEGO Health Award for Patient Healthcare Collaborator in 2017. He is a passionate advocate and ambassador for people living with invisible illnesses, inspired and empowered by his own journey with arthritis, fibromyalgia, and inflammatory bowel disease since childhood. He is currently an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society, and a trustee of Fibromyalgia Action UK and RAiISE.

3 comments

  1. Fantastic answers Simon, you are a true patient and research advocate and love reading about what you’re doing for research and especially for the youth projects you work with 🙂

    Urm any footage of you on the Paul o’ Grady show? I used to watch that you know! probably even watched you present hehe 😀

    I also love your last 2 answers it is something that alters for me frequently, not necessarily daily but frequently. Although, I must admit the Bowel disorders are what I’d delete because they cause me 10 X more pain than the Joint Hypermobility Syndrome and fibro put together, very disruptive and unpredictable. Yes, I’d live quite happily without them I think. I too have learnt how to cope and have adapted how I do things regarding the joinst instability and arthritis 😮

    Thankyou, for taking part and you deserve the award 🙂

    Will feature your post on our #chronicillness morning post today, new post goes live 09:10am and looking forward to reading your nominees responses.

    Wishing you wellness and less pain

    Carole

    Liked by 1 person

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