‘phone call had me on my knees’

Miles away from home on a supply ship in the North Sea, happily and busily helping build a windfarm, my world was suddenly turned upside down. A single, short phone call had me on my knees.  I could only imagine the fear my beloved Josie must have been going through as she held my son’s, my Dexter’s, hand at his bedside. The journey home seemed to take forever even though very quickly I was on a helicopter being rushed back to the UK.
You will need help, brave men cry
The response from my employees was the first of many reality checks. People care! When personal disaster happens to children human beings instinctively jump to and offer help without being asked. But my first piece of advice to you dads is always ask. You will need help, brave men cry, they have feelings, after all without them you are not living fully. So whether it is to ask advice, doing a shopping trip, adjusting work schedules… ask, speak out and explain the situation.
Your biggest heroes

You are also going to be extraordinarily surprised by the NHS and all who work in it. Suddenly it becomes so much more than a Saturday night visit to AandE having twisted your ankle after too many bevvies. It becomes a powerful well oiled machine with superhero staff working efficiently and calmly to save your child. Your child’s mum will become your biggest hero because she will be the prime force behind your child’s recovery but you will soon think of all the NHS staff as heroes from the cleaners to the consultants, from the health visitors to the lab staff testing blood, fluids and whatever. These are human beings going above and beyond. In 13 years with the Royal Marines I was surrounded by brave humans putting their lives on the line for others; admiration, respect and awe are the words I use around them. But the people who will help save your child will become very special to you in a very different way.

The other superhero who will emerge will be your child. Honestly, I’ve been a big tough Marine with all the guns, muscles and knives to make me a superhero but your child, at least my Dexter did, will put you to shame. The shame that will quite rightly be knocked out of the park by the pride you will have for your child, the pride will be the stuff of legends.
You need to be bad ass
Please read Josie’s letter to mums. You need to be bad ass just like she did, you have to be positive; Josie explains it well. As you can imagine being a Royal Marine took a lot of important training but never was what I learnt then so important as the attitude I learnt from her!!!
Sorry, I’m rambling on here a bit when my job now is to help you dads. ‘Dex’s Heroes’ on a quick look is a lot of fun and entertainment but it has special elements in it that can help you help not only your child but all the NHS staff. So explore it and read the pages carefully, there is a lot of helpful stuff.
Contact me through the info email address I’m here to answer your questions and to help in any way I can.

Andy Spence


Even as a Marine in Afghanistan
I never had to face something
so heart wrenching