Help to give Sita a Better Life

In July 2016 my sister Sita returned home to Newcastle from South America to start a new job at Durham University. She had spent the last 8 years living and travelling around South America returning home in between to see her family and friends. She had worked in various schools and colleges across South America, mainly teaching under privileged children to speak English. She had a huge impact on the thousands of people she taught, worked with and built friendships with. A hugely positive and spiritual person, she saw the good in everyone and had hundreds of close friendships with people all over the world. Back home in Newcastle she is very well known, particularly with like minded new age people who all care for their local community and environment and tried to make a difference, a guitar was never too far away, she loved acro yoga and would encourage her friends to get involved at every opportunity, and in her younger days she was part of the breakdancing community and would always be the life and soul of every party. Boundless energy and a passion for life, she made an impression on everyone she ever met. We could travel anywhere with her and you would guarantee you would bump into a friend of Sitas. 

On August 3rd 2016 She got up to travel to work having enjoyed her first few days in her new job. She would cycle to the train station in Newcastle to travel to Durham. She was involved in a serious accident in which she collided with a bus and suffered a fractured skull among other serious injuries. She spent a few days in an induced coma, and despite seemingly improving very quickly and leaving hospital after a week, 3 weeks later she was readmitted after falling ill. After undergoing a lumber puncture and an MRI we got the news that we were dreading. The fracture had led to Sita contracting a severe strain of pneumococcal meningitis. She spent weeks in a coma when we weren’t sure if she was going to survive. She did eventually regain consciousness, however we were informed that she would never make a full recovery and has been left severely brain damaged unable to speak, eat, walk and unable to move most parts of her body.

After months in a specialist neurological rehabilitation centre, Sita now lives full time in a care home with very little quality of life. Family and friends visit her as often as possible and although we often get a smile from Sita we are also very aware when she is upset or distressed. We have recently been able to arrange home visits for Sita, where she can travel by taxi to our home, or to local areas such as the Quayside or the coast, to spend some quality time with us, and most importantly my kids, her niece and nephew, who adore Sita and have shown maturity beyond their years to be able to cope with the devastating change in their Aunty who they idolise, and she adored them. However continuing to pay for taxis is not sustainable and it means she can’t get out and about as much as what we all would like her too. 

The benefits system in circumstances such as these is extremely complicated and as a sister rather than a parent it is borderline impossible for me to get any financial support from the government to improve Sitas quality of life.

We are trying to raise funds to purchase a vehicle that can be specially adapted for access for Sita as she must travel in her wheelchair to enable her to leave the care home more frequently and visit friends and family, and we would like to fund a garage conversion for a respite area for Sita, with a bed suitable for Sita to rest in and the medical equipment required to feed her and take care of her needs. This will mean that rather than a flying visit Sita can spend more of the day in our home with her niece and nephew, watching movies, listening to music or just enjoying a much needed change of scenery from her permanent place of residence. This comes at a significant cost which we are saving for and would be hugely grateful for any contribution or support, no matter how small. We are taking part in numerous fundraising events such as a Charity fundraising night, ‘The Great North Run’and I will be doing ‘The Great North Swim’ in Lake Windermere to try and raise funds. We truly appreciate your support and will be eternally grateful for any help we receive. Thank you x


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Lalita Hutchinson 
Brenkley, ENG
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