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London Diaries: When Life Meets Laughter in London Town

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

Diving into the London Buzz

Picture this: London, 2022 – a city alive with a vibrant history, stories, art, and a dash of accidental hilarity. Yours truly, Cal, the stroke survivor with a suitcase full of curiosity and a penchant for cheeky adventures, found himself in the heart of this whirlwind. From meeting stroke superheroes to sharing laughs with the artsy elite, my London escapade was a rollercoaster ride of the best kind.

Stroke All-Stars Assemble

First on the agenda? In advance of our joint presentation at the UK STROKE Forum, I had a meeting that felt like the ultimate stroke survivor summit. I had the pleasure of sitting down with the stroke dream team – Dr. Fergus Gracey, the honorary multitasker; Dr. Caroline Ellis-Hill, the lifeworld guru; and Dr. Charlie Whiffen, the neurotrauma Jedi. We were like a quirky stroke version of The Avengers, championing one cause – enhancing the quality of life for stroke survivors. The conversations were a wild blend of thought-provoking insights and hearty laughs, proving that even serious business can be a whole lot of fun.

L-R: Charlie Whiffen, Caleb Rixon, Caroline Ellis-Hill, Fergus Gracey.

Art, Heart, and Lucinda Jarret

But London had more in store for me than just business meetings. Enter Lucinda Jarret, the Artistic Director at Rosetta Life. Imagine Picasso's brushstrokes combined with the spirit of a rock concert – that's Lucinda's magic. Our conversation was like a dance between the worlds of art and recovery. She's a maestro in using performances to transform challenges into triumphs, and I couldn't help but be inspired.

L-R: Lucinda's Colleague, Caleb Rixon, Lucinda Jarret.

Jon Brittain, Fabian Aloise, and the Unexpected Connection

In the land of West End magic, I found myself rubbing shoulders with none other than Jon Brittain – Olivier Award-winning playwright and master storyteller. And there was a twist of fate involved, thanks to the hospitality of Olivier Award-nominated choreographer and director Fabian Aloise. These guys are the real deal, the ones who bring stories to life on stage. Our meeting felt like a crossover episode of creativity and charisma, leaving me starstruck and ready to pen my own theatrical tale.

L-R: Caleb Rixon, Jon Brittain, Fabian Aloise.

Gemma Costello: Making Waves in Pediatric Neuropsychology

As if that wasn't enough, I had the honour of meeting Dr. Gemma Costello, a Specialist Educational Psychologist in Paediatric Neuropsychology. She's the driving force behind The Children’s Trust, where young survivors of brain injuries find the care they deserve. Our chat was like a crash course in compassion and commitment, reminding me that the stroke journey touches lives at every stage.

L-R: Gemma Costello, Caleb Rixon.

London Unveiled: The Fun and the Feels

Oh, but my London sojourn wasn't all business and meetings. I caught some of the West End's finest shows – Back To The Future, Moulin Rouge, and &Juliet – because who can resist a bit of theatrical magic? And let's not forget the iconic sights – Buckingham Palace, London Bridge, Tower of London, and Westminster Abbey – each a piece of London's heart and history.

A Toast to Unforgettable Encounters

As I waved goodbye to London, I knew I was leaving with more than just memories. I carried stories of laughter, meetings that mattered, and a newfound appreciation for the city's vibrant tapestry of life. From art to heart, business to showbiz, London had shown me its many faces, each more captivating than the last. Here's to the laughter shared, the connections made, and the adventure that is life after stroke. London, you were an absolute delight – until we meet again!

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