Like many of our staff, Eliza was motivated to help care for others through her lived experience of supporting someone close to her living with a disability. For Eliza, this was her sister, Polly, who had both cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Cornerstone cared for Polly for a number of years at our service in Stonehaven, before she sadly passed away.

Eliza not only dedicated herself to a career in caring with Cornerstone, but also to honouring her sister’s memory through fundraising for us to help ensure other families and loved ones are supported through the challenges that caring for a family member with disabilities can sometimes bring. 

As a young adult, Eliza's sister, Polly, received support from Cornerstone to move into a wonderful specially adapted house in Stonehaven and received around the clock care. The team was small and committed. Eliza remembers that they never made it feel like a job to her family and were there every day and night without fail.

"She had cerebral palsy and epilepsy which put many restrictions on the life she led, and which resulted in many hospital admissions, operations, and often lots of pain. But she was so much more than this. She was strong. And busy. And led a happy and full life. She was so happy. She had a beautiful smile and great sense of humour. She loved music, drama and people falling over, Westlife and sweet things. She was clever and had incredible strength. She was popular and loved by everyone who knew her. And she would have loved her nieces and nephews so much and to have heckled at my wedding!"

"When a management position came up with Cornerstone in North Lanarkshire in 2012, I applied, not realising that three months later Polly would be receiving end of life care due to complications with her health. Her friends and family at Cornerstone were all around us throughout this time, and that care is still something I find difficult to put into words.

"Her life and experiences have defined the career I have had in social care and the values I hold. I have loved going to events through work and bumping into Polly’s friends and old staff team. This was something I used to find really emotional and difficult but has come to be incredibly important in remembering her. I can’t really imagine what another career path would be for me.

"I am hoping to raise some funds to support families. My own brother, sister and I would have benefitted massively from peer support when we were younger to help us understand the impact disability can have on a family. It would have also helped us to manage grief and the loss of that person when lifelong health conditions do decline. And of course, to have had family holidays together. I would really love it if more families were able to make more happy memories together.

"Most recently we celebrated, what should have been, Polly’s 40th birthday We celebrated with chocolate cake because it’s my son and daughter’s favourite - just like their auntie!"