Funny way to fight illness

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Laughter, exercise and creativity were the best medicines when a medical centre held an evening of wellbeing.

Southgate Medical Group, in Brighton Road, welcomed guests to hear more about the benefits of staying healthy in mind and body.

Visitors heard about Sue Gardner, of Furnace Green, who overcame crippling depression by taking up art.

After explaining how her new-found creativity had set her on the road to health – and acknowledging her GP, Dr Amit Bhargava, for keeping her steady on that road – Sue donated all her work to Dr Bhargava as the perfect ‘thank you’.

Her art – including a rather cheeky painting of a pear – will be on show at the medical centre.

One woman who impressed everyone during the evening was stand-up comic Mel Moon.

Mel had visitors in stitches as she took a light-hearted stab at her own health issues.

She has problems with her endocrine system which means her stress levels in ‘fight or flight’ situations – something as simple as an argument – could kill her.

And, while the symptoms of the illness are understood, Dr Bhargava has been working to find the cause.

Mel, 34, is waiting to undergo an MRI scan to see if she has a tumour at the base of her brain, which could be the root of her problem.

She said: “They haven’t given my condition a formal name. They don’t know what it’s called or how it’s going to mutate. A big argument could kill me. If you have a big row with someone and get yourself into a state, your body would kick in and protect you. But mine does not do that.”

Picking up a virus could also be dangerous and Mel admitted when her children, Reece, 8, and Riley, 3, came home with a bug she was “terrified”.

But, rather than, focus on the negative aspects of life, Mel has embraced the concept of wellbeing by turning her creative eye to comedy.

She encouraged others to try to do the same, adding: “The mind is an incredibly powerful thing. Throw yourself into something you love, whatever it is. You can’t get rid of [your illness] simply – it takes time and work. But you can control how it affects you.

“You don’t have to give in, you can fight back.”