In January 2017 James Faulkner and his wife Sarah celebrated buying their first home together. The couple had been living in an RAF Benevolent Fund Housing Trust property, where James had lived after he was diagnosed with a devastating brain tumour. As James explains in this guest blog, they bought the house in order to provide security for Sarah and their daughter, Eliza.
There are a few dates that stick firmly in my mind. 14 March 2013, the date I married my lovely wife, Sarah; 17 December 2012, the day our beautiful daughter Eliza was born; 11 November 2004, the date my life was turned upside down when doctors discovered I had a brain tumour. And now just recently, 8 January 2017, the day Sarah and I bought our first home together.
You see, the house Sarah, Eliza and I live in was bought by the RAF Benevolent Fund after I was medically discharged from the RAF in 2007. The brain tumour meant I couldn't continue in my career as an RAF policeman and I had no where to live.
That's when this amazing charity came along, one I had supported in the past but never thought I would need myself. They bought a house, which was close to my son from my first marriage and it was the start of a whole new journey for me.
I met and married Sarah, had a little girl and began a new career as a ceramist – and again I was supported by the RAF Benevolent Fund, who helped me buy some equipment which has set me on a path to a career I could not have dreamed of. These days I love nothing more than to shut myself away in my workshop and create pieces that are influenced by the elements and their effects upon man-made objects.
The doctors have told me that the tumour will limit my life and I have around ten years to live. At the moment things are OK but there are days when I'm left with immense fatigue and waves of nausea and dizziness. I take various medication to help me get through the day, including ones to stop feeling sick.
So looking to the future, we decided the best thing to do would be to buy our house from the Fund, which will mean Sarah and Eliza will always have this home and the security they need.
In January all the paperwork went through and it was a good feeling when everything was sorted. I am so grateful to the RAF Benevolent Fund for everything they have done to help me and my family get here. And although we do not need their help at the moment, I know the RAF Benevolent Fund will be there for Sarah and Eliza if they ever need them when I am no longer here.