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DEBRA Guest Blog: World Friendship Day

By DEBRA Member, Gemma Jaega

World Friendship Day, also known as International Day of Friendship, takes place on Thursday, 30th July. We asked our Members to share stories of their best friends and to give a special shout out to those who make a difference. DEBRA Member, Gemma Jaega, tells us how two of her friends have supported her.

“I have known Jade since our first day at primary school at age 5. We didn’t always get on as we were very different but, over the last 24 years, she has been by my side, my rock, more like a sister than a friend. We went to prom together, celebrated each other’s birthdays together. She always visited me when I was severely unwell in hospital and needed my tracheostomy fitted. I even went unconscious on her once and she ran the length of the hospital trying to find her mum and my parents. I’ve tripped over my own feet and fallen down her stairs while dragging her dog behind me and bashing my face on a radiator at the bottom - scraping my skin off (every time she hears a THUD now, she knows it’s me!).

She helped my mum organise my hen do, was my Maid of Honour when I married Mike and made sure that everything was in order for my special day - even down to washing my hair, helping me shower and getting into my dress. I was a bridesmaid at her wedding and even stayed the night before with her mum and sister. She drove to and from Liverpool on the same day when it was Mike’s funeral and made it her job to look after me. She also turned up unannounced at my gramps’ funeral earlier this year, just because she thought I’d need “extra support”, (sometimes I think she knows me better than I do) and we cried on each other’s shoulders.

Even now, we still bicker over silly things but, at the end of the day, I know exactly how lucky I am to have her play such a big part in my life. She is one in a million and I would be lost without her.

Naomi and I met when we were at college nearly a decade ago. She had begun dating one of my friends and was pregnant with my godson. She has always allowed me to have an active role in Kye’s life - taking him for the odd day out and always including me in his birthdays, school plays at Christmas, etc. She has always been there through my darkest times - no matter what time of day it is, I know I can count on her. She came up to Liverpool with her partner and son (who was my pageboy) when I got married and again when I lost Mike.

We’ve also shared some great times together - I went with her to pick her wedding dress, we love going out for food, movies, shopping and even to the bingo! I took her to her first stadium concert (Bon Jovi at Anfield) and firework display. She is worth her weight in gold. She always helps me out when I struggle to do things and she never complains or gets impatient with me. I would be completely lost without her.

Lockdown has been difficult for me - not being able to see them in person. I think they’d be surprised at quite how much it’s affected me. But later this year, all 3 of us are going down to Weymouth to stay in one of the DEBRA caravans and we cannot wait - especially as for all of us it’s our first girl’s holiday!

Thank you for being the best friends a girl could wish for.”

Do you have a unique story for how you and your best friend met? Do you have a special place that you like to visit together? Has one of your friends gone above and beyond to help you in your hour of need?

Send your stories and photos to debranews@debra.org.uk, so that we can share your story with others.

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