My sister suffered a very rare stroke called a Medullary Infarction following brain surgery. This kind of stroke affects less than 1% of stroke survivors worldwide. As a result she has been left with left sided hemiplegia. The stroke team at the hospital told my sister that she would never walk again, would have to use a powered wheelchair and would be sent to a care home. But my sister was determined and would not lie down! She wanted to walk again and thanks to the incredible physio team, she began!
Due to paralysis, my sister only has very limited movement in her hip and should therefore not be able to walk. But the physio didn't rest either and with orthotics, she was fitted with a KAFO (Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis). These were used for polio survivors and means that her whole leg is locked straight and she must walk from the hop alone. It is only designed for very short distances. However, due to the fantastic work with her new physio, she has progressed far enough that the KAFO is no longer suitable. It means that she needs to spend unnecessary time in her wheelchair because of the brace. It has also started to affect her joints. She cannot progress any further with physio until she has a more suitable brace.
"It feels like my life is on hold yet again!"
My sister wants to live as independently as possible. She is so brave and has fought an extraordinary battle, jumping hurdles that were thought to be impossible. But she requires a more appropriate brace to achieve this.
This new brace means that she can walk a lot further and potentially have no need to use her wheelchair at all! She would be able to walk with a more natural gait, without her leg fatiguing. She will be able to do more independently. Little things like walking uphill, upstairs, at a quicker pace, playing with her dog... all of these small things that she cannot do with her current brace.
This new KAFO is made of carbon fibre material ad is a fraction of the weight (only about 1KG in total!). It has special hinges so that her physio can treat her more appropriately and work towards her walking with a more natural gait. It is much more slimline which means she can wear it under her clothes, as well as being able to wear better fitting shoes! It also means she will be able to bend her ankle too. This brace will not lock her joints and will make it much easier for her to retain good movement. It has special mechanisms so that she can use with one hand. And because of the carbon fibre it is long lasting. All of this means that my sister will finally be able to live life to the full.
Sadly, the NHS Orthotics are not funded to supply anything other than the heavyweight KAFO due to strict funding cuts. Even though it is universally agreed that this brace is exactly what my sister needs and she met all the requirements, the NHS funding cuts mean she must pay privately for this.
We would love your help! Please help my sister to walk and get her independence back! Any penny would help us to achieve this. Help us help my sister to live a happy, full life again!
- Jimmy Hendry
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- James Fraser
Organizer and beneficiary
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