Plague or Plea?


By Eifion Lloyd Jones, our candidate in Clwyd West.

One major change since I fought elections in 1987 and 1992 is the use of the web to facilitate communication and campaigning. But it can tax your patience at times. Not only can we send our messages to our supporters and the world, but everyone and his dog can also contact us. And more than contact, they expect a reply and a response!

Charities have got the message, of course. With no expenditure, they can send their information and their requests to all candidates of all parties easily and widely. These messages encourage us to respond with our pledges to campaign on their behalf were we to be elected. If we respond, our names will appear on their website, but no response = no name – immediately informing all their members how heedless we are of their condition.

Yes, very tedious and time-consuming..... until we read and understand their case, and begin to realise the important and valuable work they do for people with all sorts of conditions – some very common and obvious, and others much more obscure which have not yet received due attention.

And this brought to mind vividly our experience as a family when our daughter Elysteg was small, and desperately ill.  I remember rushing her toGlanClwydHospital, and the doctors there warning us to expect the worst, since she had entered a state where she was paralysed and had ceased breathing. That was the most difficult period that Leah and I ever had in our experience of raising four children.

Thanks to providence and the skill of the doctors, Elysteg recovered and soon made a full recovery. We understood later that she had Reye’s Syndrome – a condition of which we previously knew nothing: it’s a disease which affects the liver, and very quickly affects the brain.

Only half of those affected by this disease survive, and half of those suffer permanent brain damage. That’s why we are so fortunate and grateful that Elysteg  survived with no ill effects. She is now married and will herself be a mother in early September.

There has been no reference to Reye’s Syndrome among the host of emails or letters that I’ve received so far, but reading about so many other different serious conditions has made me aware of the suffering and anxiety of children and parents across Wales. And makes me fervently believe that I would do my best on their behalf inWales’ Parliament should I have the opportunity after the election.

In addition to messages, we also receive invitations to visit the charities and view their work.

It was a privilege to meet the dedicated people working at the NSPCC’s northern headquarters and hearing about the work of several charities who are co-operating there daily to seek to improve the lives of children and their parents. These are people who work day and night answering calls from people of all ages going through dark and difficult times and who need a sympathetic ear and a word of advice.

Bless these very special people who dedicate their lives to others. Compared with their work and their sacrifice, canvassing is very easy. And realising what we could achieve if we are elected is a valuable incentive to carry on.