Sally Meets The Vaccines


April 5, 2015

Sally is 38, has children aged 5 and 7. Two years ago, Sally went to hospital for an MRI and was diagnosed with MS having been experiencing dizzy spells. Her hospital stay lasted three and a half months during which time she deteriorated rapidly to the extent she had to re-learn how to go to the loo and how eat. MS isn't a kind illness and in Sally's case rapid and severe.


Today Sally has a wheelchair but prefers to use her walking stick.

A walking stick that has an after show pass from The Vaccines proudly attached.


When Given To Live received the application for Sally, it was approved immediately. However, the show she wanted to see was sold out and no disability tickets were available either. Sometimes things are meant be and a chance phone call with Dev who runs the Golden Lion in Bristol and also has his own band, The Idles, ends up with him saying...'I know Arni, the bass player, let me see what I can do.' Less than 24hrs later see what I can do had become a meet and greet with The Vaccines at the Bath Pavilion show on Saturday.


A phone call to Sally to say we had tickets for her opens the way for unbridled joy, tears and shrieks of delight. Sally asks if she can meet them? No, it's not been possible to make that happen is the line taken elicits a momentary lull in the tears and shrieking. But only momentary. Between then and the show Given To Live receives a number of texts filled with glorious excitement and such gratitude it is almost bursting from the page.


Saturday the 4th comes around and at 6pm sharp we pick up Sally who is waiting dressed up for show time rocking a great pair of tights, a huge smile and just about jumping out of her skin with anticipation. It doesn't take long to get to Bath and after a quick drink and pizza we head to the show good and early.


Sally is a courageous woman and also has a default switch that means she won't let out how tough having MS is for her. Saying it's better than it was. It is.


And it's also been, and is, devastating for her. A few minutes outside having a sit down during the support band elicits a moment that brings so much into focus. No longer saying it's a perk of MS that she's taken to The Vaccines but a moment of the fierce, heartbreaking truth that her life collapsed in a matter of months. That she is a mother and wife but so differently than 2 years ago. That within the hope and faith that she will be fully healthy again she's wracked with uncertainty. Tears, deep heartbroken tears make their way down her cheeks too fast to beat the words 'I'm not allowed to cry'. A cry, a cigarette and we're on our way back in picking up a red wine and coke.


Then Sally starts causing trouble! 'I want to meet the band. I'm going to try and get backstage!' - 'OK, great idea, but no you're not. 'I am!' What if she gets there and someone tips her off that we're headed there anyway but we've just kept it as a surprise? Given To Live impart years of wisdom about how hard it is to get backstage without passes, it doesn't happen, you need to sit down and rest. Sally is a determined lady and it took a lot of persuading but eventually she relented and took her spot behind the sound desk where there was a rail to hang onto.


Sally has MS. Standing is difficult, walking tougher but she was at her favourite band's show and damned if she was sitting at the back where she could have a seat. Sally has a loud scream. Down the phone or in person it's loud and my ears will readily agree. The house lights go down and Sally screams. And tears stream down her face. Tears of joy. She sings, laughs, cries, turns and says this is the song she wants at her funeral during Wetsuit.


Then Sally goes and gets difficult again.


She wants the rail.


The rail.


This is a woman with a walking stick having difficulties standing. Difficulties walking. But dammit there's no stopping her and we make our way to the rail, with a wobble or two, but she makes it. And for a couple of songs she's there on the rail at her favourite band, the band whose music she wants at her funeral.


Reality takes her to the seat she has at the back. But she really isn't interested in it even though her body is. Reluctantly she sits a moment at a time but up again she gets not wanting to miss a moment.


The show ends and a happy and exhausted Sally now needs a sit down. This works as we need to wait until Hans, the tour manager, comes to get us and Sally still has no idea.


Sat down I demand her walking stick and turn my back to her and when I hand it back to her there's an after show pass stuck just below the handle. This takes a few moments to sink in and you can see this in the video below.


Hans arrives and takes Sally backstage. She's a little overwhelmed and Miss I'm-Going-To-Try-And-Go-Backstage isn't quite as loud as we make our way for her to meet them. The Vaccines were wonderful to Sally and truly Sally had an incredible time. She chatted skateboarding with Justin amongst other things and was treated with such generosity and respect by them all, Arni, Pete and Freddie.The easiest thing to do is leave the final word to Sally herself who sent this message...'Saturday was the stuff dreams are made of! The best thing I could have hoped for! The best thing that's happened to me since m.s ravaged my life! No job and now disabled! Thanks for making a dream come true!'