Help Stef get a Wheelchair

$2,300 of $2,300 goal

Raised by 24 people in 51 months

I'm a creative, free-spirited 29 year old who loves nature, music, acting and being a little different!

For years I had dreams of running my own store, and in 2010 I made that dream a reality.  Unfortunately, within a month of opening I was sick every single day, finding it almost impossible to get out of bed. I was suffering daily from joint & muscle pain, nausea and debilitating fatigue, and I had no idea what was going on with me.  In July 2011 another dream came true...I got offered a part on a TV show. I had wanted to act my whole life, and even went to University for drama, so I took the part. After 6 months of shooting my body was so wrecked it took me over two months of bed rest to recover from the damage working full time had done to me, and many of the new symptoms never went away.

By March 2012 I finally got the answer, and my official diagnosis...I have a rare genetic disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.  EDS causes me to have faulty collagen, a protein found in most systems of our body.  Because of this I end up with many issues including weak muscles, joints and tendons that dislocate and stretch out easily,  gastrointestinal problems, severe fatigue, insomnia, as well as complications with my eyes, skin, heart, balance, memory and many other things.  There is no cure for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.  Treatment is supportive, meaning it just helps to increase my comfort level, but doesn't fix anything.

The past 10 months have been a roller-coaster ride of new symptoms. My mobility has taken a turn for the worst. Aside from the constant hip pain, I also have horribly weak ankles that twist and sprain constantly.  I now wear ankle braces that prevent that, but they are hand-me-downs from a friend who also has EDS, and they were already pretty worn out when she gave them to me.  At this point they are literally falling apart, so I need new ones, which is going to run me $200.

Walking is very hard. Although my legs work, I have a very hard time remaining upright for more than a couple minutes, due to severe fatigue and muscle weakness.  Unfortunately so far there's no medication that can help me with this.  It makes going out and doing regular things, like grocery shopping, very stressful, upsetting and on bad days, impossible. There are many things I just can't do anymore because it would require me to stand.  I tried using a cane for extra stability, but it was causing damage to my shoulder and wrist so I had to give it up.  One day, while going shopping with my hubby, I finally gave in and used one of the store's courtesy wheelchairs.  I couldn't believe how helpful this was!  I finally had a shopping trip where I wasn't panicked looking for a place to sit down, and I wasn't exhausted from just walking around a store for 15 minutes.  Besides we were able to shop much faster with him pushing me in the chair, instead of me slowly limping around, and I had a lot less pain.  Usually after a shopping trip I'm so exhausted I need to rest, or nap.  When I use the chair I still have energy to do more later in the day. So I've come to accept I really need my own chair, one I can have handy anytime I need it, especially on days where my symptoms are really bad. I always felt that if I ended up using a wheelchair my freedom would be gone, but I'm realizing that the chair can give me back my mobility, which is my freedom!

Unfortunately with me being unable to work, and my amazing partner working to support both of us, I am unable to afford a wheelchair and new ankle braces.  I looked into cheaper, used chairs, but to prevent damage to my lax joints and ligaments I need to get a specially made chair, and it has to be ultra lightweight. These chairs can cost anywhere from $1500 to $2500.

So that's why I'm asking you guys for help.
I need to get this chair so I can start feeling confident that no matter where I go, I won't have to fret, and no matter how bad my symptoms get, I will still be able to go out places and enjoy life!


UPDATE: Thanks to many generous donations, and a huge donation from the Kiwanis Club of Orleans (Ottawa) I reached my original goal of $1500!
I then realized that after GoFundMe and Paypal took their cut from donations, I didn't have enough for my chair.
I also found out the chair is going to cost me approx. $2000.
So I have raised my goal to $2300, as that will hopefully give me enough for my chair, and braces!


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Update 10
46 months ago

I wanted to send another huge THANK YOU to everyone who donated to my wheelchair & braces fund 4 months ago. It took a few months to get my chair, as it was custom ordered, but last month I received it, and I couldn't be happier!!
It has definitely made outings a lot easier to deal with, and helps me to conserve energy so I can do more each week.
THANK YOU ALL for you kindness & generosity!
xx Stef
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Update 9
51 months ago

Thank you to the many friends, and some strangers, who donated to my cause! I've now been able to reach my second goal of $2300!! This will allow me to buy my wheelchair, my braces, and pay for the sizing/assessment with the occupational therapist.

It means the world to me that so many people felt I was deserving of their monetary gift.
This chair is going to change my daily life, and thank you to everyone who is making this possible!

I will be sending out individual thank you's over the next week, and will be sending out/posting up a photo once I receive my chair and braces.

Wishing everyone who donated good karma, and good health!
xx Stef
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Update 8
51 months ago

95% of my goal reached! Thank you everyone...almost there!

I've been advised to get a 'rigid' wheelchair instead of 'folding', so this is the chair I'm planning on getting: The TiLite Aero R
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Update 7
51 months ago

Had to raise my goal as my wheelchair is going to cost me more than I expected! After the fees were taken from Paypal & GoFundMe I didn't have enough to get my chair and braces, so $2300 will give me enough for both!
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 24 total shares
StrategyCoach Carter
51 months ago

Opps, I meant to say "Stef" - Darn typos! lol P.s. I LOVE your hair! That is a brilliant red!

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StrategyCoach Carter
51 months ago

Congrats Ste! I'm glad to see your gofundme has been working! I'm new on here and trying to raise funds as well, so it's good to see how strong the community is around here. i shared your raise with my social networks, so hopefully you can get hose extra funds for the Physiotherapy and Ophthalmologist =)

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$2,300 of $2,300 goal

Raised by 24 people in 51 months
Created June 25, 2012
MD
$110
Michelle D.
51 months ago

All the best my dear friend!

AH
$50
Amber Hearts
51 months ago

:)

GP
$10
Gracie P
51 months ago
$20
Anonymous
51 months ago
R
$25
Robb
51 months ago

We met at HearseCon in 2008, good luck with te new wheels!

$200
Anonymous
51 months ago (Offline Donation)
CS
$50
Crystal Smith
51 months ago

Hope this helps, very sad to hear about this Stef. Good luck...... and take care

RB
$25
Rachael Burden
51 months ago

Love Ya Stef, I am glad you finally have a diagnosis, The not know must have been the worst part. I hope you get the best wheel chair that meets all your needs. Rach

KO
$1,000
kiwanis club of orleans
51 months ago

go get what you need! bring it to ottawa and we'll put a skreamers logo on the back!

MH
$20
Mark Hummel
51 months ago
StrategyCoach Carter
51 months ago

Opps, I meant to say "Stef" - Darn typos! lol P.s. I LOVE your hair! That is a brilliant red!

+ Read More
StrategyCoach Carter
51 months ago

Congrats Ste! I'm glad to see your gofundme has been working! I'm new on here and trying to raise funds as well, so it's good to see how strong the community is around here. i shared your raise with my social networks, so hopefully you can get hose extra funds for the Physiotherapy and Ophthalmologist =)

+ Read More
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