To celebrate our 10th birthday we will be highlighting some key moments and individuals from the last ten years. This month we’re delighted to introduce you to DMSF Coach British female professional basketball player, and our very own NHS hero, Lauren Thomas-Johnson.

Lauren is an A&E switchboard operator at Wythenshawe Hospital and this month she tells us a bit about her DMSF journey and how’s she currently supporting NHS co-workers and patients during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Why did you decide to get involved in DMSF?
My boyfriend, Ryan Lewis, was already working with and doing some coaching sessions for DMSF and he suggested me to Diane; the rest, as they say, is history.

What programmes do you work on with DMSF?
[Pre-Covid] I deliver sessions at Cedar Mount Academy every Tuesday and Friday.

What impact have you seen with the young people you work with?
I keep it as real as I can with the kids and, as a result, I’ve seen that they trust me. 

You were involved in the first ever DMSF Summer Camp, what was that like?
It was soooo much fun. I love the energy of the kids and even on day five [out of a 7-day week] the kids were ready to get to work each and everyday.

How many times a week do you train/coach with DMSF?
[Pre-Covid] Twice a week.

What were you doing before you joined DMSF?
I was a professional basketball player turned beauty therapist. I now run three of my own businesses.

What do you enjoy most about coaching?
The vibe and the energy of the kids. They all make me laugh it never feels like work when I’m coaching them.

Where does your passion for sport/coaching come from?
I am sooooo competitive!

What is most important to you about being part of DMSF (the sport, being part of the team – or anything else …)
I played professional basketball so I do love being part of a team sport and DMSF just feels like family.

What’s your proudest moment?
Giving birth to my son Hendrix Freddi Lewis.

What’s your best sporting achievement?
I have a few…
Earning a scholarship to America at the age of 16 was amazing, BUT, my proudest moment is when I gave birth to my son via Emergency C-section and was back on the court in three months and won a cup final.

Who are you inspired by?
My mother. She is the hardest working women I’ve ever met. I also take inspiration from the late NBA star Kobe Bryant and my step daughter, Leyanah, because that little girl is the most resilient human being I have ever met. 

What quote (if any) do you live by?
YOUR FRIENDS DON’T PAY YOUR BILLS.
IT’S OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY SOMETIMES.

We asked Lauren if she was involved in the care of patients during the Coronavirus crisis. Here’s what she told us.

Switchboard operators are usually the first point of contact for anyone who phones the hospital so we often speak to people who are anxious or upset, this has been especially true during the current pandemic, so it’s my job to calm them down or reassure them. It gives me great satisfaction to know I might be helping someone in their hour of need.

Lauren, we’re all so proud to have you on the DMSF team.