Hendon's Journey

Posted by Communications Team on 8 March 2017 |

Hendon Stephens

At the age of 15, Hendon was admitted to hospital with Rheumatic Fever. For the next three months, while in hospital, Hendon would learn how to live and deal with his illness.  This would include monthly injections for the next 25 years.   Having spent so much time in Hospital, Hendon soon built positive relationships with the various health professionals who cared for him.  He knew he wanted to make a difference in the community in the same way they did.   

While fighting his illness, Hendon also struggled with years of addictions.  He knew it was time to change and began a three year journey of recovery, starting with counselling sessions. The Counsellor encouraged Hendon to pursue a career which allowed him to channel his encouraging nature and persistency towards helping those who had been through the same journey he’d been on.

Fate was about to intervene and while under care at Counties Manukau Health, Hendon was asked to participate in the panel on the Patient Experience Week programme as part of the *Patient & Whaanau Centred Care Consumer Council.  While helping others understand his patient experience in dealing with Rheumatic fever, Hendon found his voice to speak up and inspire others.

A Counselling career provided the platform for him to make a difference by helping those who went through a similar situation to him. “I’m grateful for the position that I find myself in now, because I’m able to put my best foot forward, able to challenge myself, and hopefully challenge those that I work with to become better people in their pursuit of helping others,” says Hendon.

“My advice for people who may find themselves in a similar situation is don’t give up, believe in yourself, and have hope. Having the support of my whaanau and immediate family made all the difference too. Just looking at my daughter provided me with the motivation to continue this journey”.

Hendon hopes to make a difference in the lives of the youth that he works with by “helping them create better futures for themselves and their whaanau.  “When you work with young people, it’s not just one person that you help, it’s the whole family,” says Hendon.

*The Patient & Whaanau Centred Care Consumer Council exists to represent the interests of consumers and bring an inpatient/consumer and family perspective to the development of Counties Manukau Health plans, policies, and publications and to raise issues that are being identified in the community.