Face Everything and Rise – the Southampton charity offering help to those facing life on Artificial Nutrition

Face Everything and Rise – the Southampton charity offering help to those facing life on Artificial Nutrition

words and photos by: Peter Nichoson


Imagine, for a moment, not being able to eat. 

Imagine relying on getting all your nutrition through a tube that goes directly to your stomach, or via a central line into your bloodstream.

Imagine how it would affect your life: Dinner invitations stop because people feel awkward, never having that wonderful “full up” feeling, never again to enjoy your favourite cake or treat, having to turn down the invitation to the work Christmas meal and having to explain to everyone why you aren’t having any of the food that maybe on offer. And, possibly the hardest part, feeling hungry all the time. 

This is what it’s like for more people than you may realise, and there is very little support for those facing a life on Artificial Nutrition.

A Southampton charity is working change this, and it’s one place where help and support is available.

Face Everything and Rise is a registered charity which was set up in 2015 by a woman who has faced these difficulties since a sudden illness left her with intestinal failure. Kim Purkis is a former international high board diver, and led a very active and sporting life, so the diagnosis obviously came as a shock.

The medical advice for those with a central line (which delivers nutrition directly into the bloodstream) is that you should avoid swimming, golf, excessive exercise, and extreme sports.

Kim in the pool.

However, rather than simply accept all the things her medical team told her she couldn’t do, she decided to Face Everything and to Rise above the restrictions, and to concentrate on what she COULD do, and how she could do it safely.

Kim (the charity’s founder) has certainly succeeded on her goals. Over the past few years Kim has travelled extensively, been skiing, cycled, run, been paragliding, ice-diving, zip-lined, cliff-camped, as well as continuing her job as a teacher of children with special educational needs. Inspirational stuff!!

Alongside this busy life, Kim wanted to help others with similar conditions by offering guidance and support. Therefore, she started Face Everything and Rise.

The Charity offers information on travel and activities, and even has two mental health nurses who are available to offer support through what is a very emotional transition for those, and their families, who are going through a similar diagnosis. Kim also provides “FEAR Bears” to children (and adults) who might need a cuddly companion. So far, she has sent over 3,000 bears to people around the globe!

With the help of Wave 105’s Cash4Kids, Sport England and the National Lottery, Kim is now running regular “F.E.A.R. (Face Everything And Rise) Swim Days”. 

The first event (which was held at Bitterne Leisure Centre) was a great success, and was featured on the BBC. The day brought together people affected by various conditions, their families and even their nurses.

The next event is on Wednesday the 29th December at Romsey Rapids. The event is FREE and open to anyone who is affected by Artificial Nutrition and their families. There is exclusive access to the pools (which are fully accessible), as well as use of the soft play area and the Costa Coffee café.

Kim and the team have also raised funds to provide “Shortie Dry Suits” so that  people with central lines can safely get back in the pool.

The events bring laughter, and tears of happiness for families who attended, some of whom had never been able to swim together before.

If you would like to find out more about Face Everything and Rise, you can visit the website, where you can also request free tickets for the event on the 29th December at Romsey Rapids.

For more information, visit: https://www.faceeverything.co.uk


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