Clive Warner explains why he is leaving us a gift in his will. Clive is one of our Trustees.
I first knew about tinnitus when I was a child. My father had an operation on his ear to recover his hearing after a lifetime of bulky, uncomfortable, unsightly hearing aids. The operation failed; furthermore, it left him with unbearable noises in his head which only he could hear. I remember vividly his despair with the position he was left in.
My father is now in his 90s. His tinnitus is still there - but he tells me he has 'learned to live with it'.
My own tinnitus started 5 years ago. I thought at first it was something which would just go as quickly as it came. When it didn't, and I realised what it might be, I sought medical advice and then found the BTA.
I don't really know why my tinnitus came - but I can tell you that it was about the same time that my Mother passed away. I seemed to cope really well with this major event - but must assume that, in my case, my sadness was demonstrated with the tinnitus. We all cope with stress and life changing events in different ways. Depression, mood swings, illness, alcohol - my body 'coped' by acquiring tinnitus.
It sounded to me like a high pitched continuous whistle. Just in one ear. I am sure it is always there - even though I know that I don't always hear it! It is worse at night, when it is quiet, after being in loud places or on aeroplanes. It 'goes away' in the Jacuzzi, sometimes in meetings and definitely when I am absorbed in some activity like playing with my grandchildren.
At first it felt life shattering, threatening and uncertain. I looked for help wherever I could. I quickly discovered the Helpline at BTA who were very reassuring and offered some positive hints on how to cope.
I signed up to come to the BTA's London Tinnitus Information Day in 2014 because I wanted to meet tinnitus professionals, understand more about the condition, meet other sufferers and acquire information on how to cope. I found the day to be uplifting, incredibly supportive and simply informative.
There, I spoke to David Stockdale, to see if there was anything I could do in return to support the BTA. I happen to be a Chartered Accountant and Chief Financial Officer of the charity Retail Trust. Within days the Chairman was ringing me and asking if I would like to be considered as a Trustee!
When I joined the BTA as a Trustee, my first thought was to include the BTA in my will and leave the charity a gift. As Treasurer, I have first-hand experience of seeing how vital gifts in wills are to the BTA, both in terms of supporting our ongoing activities - such as the helpline - but also to fund that vital research we all want to lead us to a better understanding of what tinnitus is and hopefully, one day, a cure.
None of our research programme would be possible without the generous gifts left in people's wills and our hope is they will be proud of the research their gifts are invested in. I hope my gift will play a part in one day ensuring there is a world where no one suffers from tinnitus.
It may be too late for my father - if only the BTA had been around 50 years ago to support him! However, I am confident that within my lifetime tinnitus sufferers will get some relief. This can only happen if our fundraising efforts and research are successful.
We are available to answer any questions you may have about leaving a gift in your will to the BTA. Please contact David Steele on 0114 250 9933 or [email protected]. If you do chose to leave a gift in your will to the BTA you can donate to overall tinnitus support, or dedicate this gift to a specific area of our work, such as the helpline or tinnitus research.