I am arresting you…

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Three boutique cinemas packed with children and their families who have been/are going through… some very tough experiences. People who were mostly invited by charities that the Brothers Trust have supported (Debra and Momentum), others through Make a Wish, GOSH (Great Ormond Street Hospital) and some who were invited more organically.

Circa 120 people in all. 3 screens. 3 Q n A’s with Tom (in the suit) and then a photo with Tom – the day was pretty much a blur – with us all snatching greetings and conversations with old friends and new.

There are many words I could use to sum up the day: heartfelt, courage, humbling, sympathy, poignant, sad, joyful, excitement…

But for me the most appropriate word is arresting.

Rian’s army were present in force; over from Ireland with his whole family. I should explain that my wife, Nikki is the energy behind The Brothers Trust. With her cohort of helpers (special shout out to Jenny) Nikki runs the mechanics of the Trust and Nikki will know how Rian came to her attention and how he was invited and who is attending with him. I serve a more advisory role to Nikki and The Brothers Trust and I take charge of all things written (which in reality means that I just do words, since my advice is rarely heeded and with good reason) but as soon as I saw Rian, his video leapt in to my mind – a simple video of a young boy’s bedroom. A remarkable video because this is a teenage bedroom that is beautifully tidy but also because it is a homage to all things Marvel – which I am sure is common and not as compelling as a teenage bedroom where the floor can be seen.

Meeting Rian, I knew that his condition was grave but without knowing the specifics and nor his prognosis. I did though notice his smile and his infectious energy. Meeting his family, it is quickly apparent from where his personality hails. And this might well be an Irish thing. My mum, Granny Tess, from Tipperary was there also and is equally blessed. As I write, The British Open is being played at Royal Port Rush in Northern Ireland and the world’s elite millionaire golfers will not enjoy a better welcome or hospitality anywhere on earth.

Rian gave me a mug as a thank you for the day. More likely, he gave the mug to Tom but as a tea drinker who prefers a mug, I was never going to pass it on to him – and it is apt that I as write I am enjoying my tea from Rian’s mug.

And to this word arresting then…

Speaking to Rian’s lovely dad – I felt emboldened enough to enquire as to Rian’s health.

“Double lung transplant, two years ago.”

And this stopped me. Or arrested me. A double lung transplant…

Another family were present on the day – the Fincham family – the dad, Peter re-introduced himself having interviewed me way back in 1993 when I toured with some comedian called Eddie Izzard. Whatever happened to him, eh?

Peter has three children, two of whom suffer with EB – the most wretched condition you will ever encounter. Peter’s daughter has had a heart transplant and his young son is waiting for the same. The thought of such a thing is arresting – as is the fact that a tragedy is required for one family for another to move forward.

So, this word then – arresting.

Not just at how lucky we are and how we take things for granted – but at how extraordinary some people are. And in particular, the surgeons and the very clever people in white coats who can make such procedures even a possibility. As I mention in Eclipsed, I was not a bright kid at school. I was just a trier as I have remained – but I always admired the very clever kids at school. Kids who could do things that I couldn’t – either in the classroom or on the sports field.

And like the rest of us, we are all thankful that we have such clever people amongst us – and that enough of them apply their big brains to something as noble and worthy as medicine – so that kids like Rian and all the kids who attended on Sunday, can enjoy a movie with their hero who just so happens to be my son.

For this event – huge thanks to Archlight Cinemas, Battersea for kindly hosting us, to Sony and Marvel for posters and DVD’s – to M&M’s for the goodie bags, United Airlines for the travel packs and Funko Pops for the toys.

18 Comments

  1. Maya July 18, 2019
    Reply

    This is one of the nicest, best written things I have read in a while. Thank-you

  2. Sara July 18, 2019
    Reply

    Thank you to the Holland family and all the Brother’s Trust volunteers and supporters for what you do. Please keep doing it – we are humbled by your efforts. x

  3. Nathalie July 18, 2019
    Reply

    What you do withThe Brothers Trust is beautiful

  4. Meg July 18, 2019
    Reply

    The strength and joy some people have in the midst of adversity is beautifully encouraging

  5. Aiya Gilliam July 18, 2019
    Reply

    This blog is so sweet! How special it must be for you to meet all these kids who are fighting and strong and to know that they look up to your son! And it is true, sometimes we take so much in life for granted and complain about the little things. But then we see people out there with greater problems than us, but they have such grace and joy. It really is arresting.

  6. Robin B. July 18, 2019
    Reply

    This story touched me. It’s an amazing thing your family has done, creating this trust to help those in need. Utilizing your son’s fame to truly help people in need. Helping smaller causes that don’t get recognition shows a desire to actually help people, not just get recognition for “helping people.” As someone who has had the need to be helped in the past, I try to give back what I can when I can. I have a couple of charities that I regularly donate to as they touch on issues/tragedies that have impacted me or my family personally. (Isn’t that why most people donate to specific charities?) I have added The Brothers Trust to my list because this foundation is truly helping people in need, and in more ways than just handing over money. Seeing the happy faces of those that attended this most recent event is proof enough that being acknowledged by a personal hero goes a long way to giving joy to someone who needs it. I can imagine there will be times when one or more of the attendees will use their memories from the remarkable day they had meeting their hero to escape just for a short time from their suffering. I don’t have a lot, so knowing that what I can give will go to something worthy means everything to me. The Brothers Trust Foundation is definitely something that is most worthy.

  7. Rian Flanagan July 18, 2019
    Reply

    Wow I’m speechless I didn’t expect this You and your family have done so much for us it was beyond great getting to chat to You such a humble and kind family! I loved this blog and many of your others. It’s moments like those that make it all worth 🙂 thank you

  8. Rian Flanagan July 18, 2019
    Reply

    Wow I’m lost for words! You and your family have done so much for us one of the most humble and kindest people you will ever meet.I loved this blog and many of your others thank you for the kind words and an amazing weekend it’s moments like this that made it all worth it thank you.

  9. Theresa and Leah Garnett July 18, 2019
    Reply

    We love reading your blogs Mr H but this one resonated all the more with our family. Our beautiful girl is looked after by an incredible medical team in regard to her type 1 diabetes. In fact from birth we have been lucky to have excellent medical care (Leah had a cleft lip and bone graft as a little person) She is strong, beautiful, clever, feisty and healthy – some of this can be attributed to those clever and gifted beings for which we thank them from the bottom of our hearts!

  10. Valerie July 18, 2019
    Reply

    I really liked how you explained your feelings by using metaphors.

  11. Valerie July 18, 2019
    Reply

    Loved it, I loved how you used metaphors!!!

  12. Emarie July 18, 2019
    Reply

    I truly admire the work The Brothers Trust have done. It’s so incredible what people can do if we truly come together for a cause, and the fact that The Brothers Trusts pays mind to the causes that definitely don’t get nearly as much attention as they should, is wonderful. We need more organizations that do good like this one does. Thank you for using your family’s stages/platforms to bring attention to conditions some of us may have never heard of otherwise and for encouraging actions to help those who have to live with them.

  13. Angelica Barrera July 18, 2019
    Reply

    Thank-You for sharing your experience at this past event. I am so glad that The Brother’s Trust are able to hold special events like these.

  14. Samantha July 19, 2019
    Reply

    Lovely and glad good day had by all … keep up the good work

  15. Robin B. July 27, 2019
    Reply

    This story touched me. It’s an amazing thing your family has done, creating this trust to help those in need. Utilizing your son’s fame to truly help people in need. Helping smaller causes that don’t get recognition shows a desire to actually help people, not just get recognition for “helping people.” As someone who has had the need to be helped in the past, I try to give back what I can when I can. I have a couple of charities that I regularly donate to as they touch on issues/tragedies that have impacted me or my family personally. (Isn’t that why most people donate to specific charities?) I have added The Brothers Trust to my list because this foundation is truly helping people in need, and in more ways than just handing over money. Seeing the happy faces of those that attended this event is proof enough that being acknowledged by a personal hero goes a long way to giving joy to someone who needs it. I can imagine there will be times when one or more of the attendees will use their memories from the remarkable day they had meeting their hero to escape just for a short time from their suffering. I don’t have a lot, so knowing that what I can give will go to something worthy means everything to me. The Brothers Trust Foundation is definitely something that is most worthy.

    • admin July 28, 2019
      Reply

      Hi Robin, what a lovely message, thanks. Regarding the disease, EB – the most wretched condition of all, the primary drug of use is morphine to quell the pain which has side effects and other well known implications – and so the best way for an EB sufferer to accommodate their pain is distraction (and I imagine, excitement) and for these kids, the days leading up to meeting Tom – then the day and the post excitement must have been a welcome respite for them. Thanks for your support. Onwards…

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