Being a very active, independent, positive person, I do not let my disability stop me from living life. I have 24-hour care because I suffer from a condition called autonomic dysreflexia. Essentially, if anything causes pain or goes wrong below my chest it spikes my blood pressure dangerously high, which needs to be attended to within 10 – 20 minutes. It is classed as a medical emergency as if let go for much longer than that it can cause a stroke, or even worse. I have lived with this for many years, and with my positive outlook and my amazing carers and support I really do enjoy my life. I’m currently writing a book, am a volunteer City Councillor, and do what I can for the community as well as help others that are going through similar or difficult times.
So, on to why I’m here. Well, in short: My current electric wheelchair needs replacing. It is 15 years old, it has served me well and over the last few years it has broken down and been nursed back to health many times. However, during lockdown it has died again. The steering randomly turns sharply without warning and has become dangerous, the battery no longer goes further than a few hundred yards before needing recharging. The batteries have been replaced before, but the components are no longer available to fix what needs fixing. 15 years for an electric wheelchair is a good age, and I have used it to its fullest. The company that made and maintains this wheelchair no longer exists, and the parts are not available.
My wheelchair is my lifeline – from getting out of the house, to doing my voluntary work for the city council, visiting people to socialise, and just enjoying time out and about in nature; it gives me my independence.
The current situation is that I am sat in my old wheelchair, and although I can visit my parents a few hundred yards up the road that is about the maximum distance. I can just about use it around the house.
I share this information to help you understand my daily life, and how much I love life and the independence my electric wheelchair gives me. It means I can leave my house, explore the surrounding countryside and enjoy my local town. I regularly meet my daughter for lunch and although Covid-19 has made this a little difficult I cannot wait to get back to doing things like that.
The new wheelchair I would like is custom-built, apart from the main frame everything will be designed and built with me in mind. It will go longer distances than any wheelchair I’ve ever had, the bespoke design will mean it’s more comfortable and it will have adaptions so that I can do my voluntary work out and about with ease and in a way I’ve always wanted to be able to.
The wheelchair is going to cost £10,500. This will include all the unique bespoke design, delivery and servicing. I can provide more information if you would like. If I do raise more money than that it will go towards publishing my book a teaching memoir, 'The Gift of No Choice' a book in which I share my life and show you how life doesn't have to stop when you are thrown sideways in the most unexpected ways. There is a gift and everything, and although sometimes it is not easy to find, I can assure you it is there.
I find it difficult to ask for help like this, it feels like making a sales pitch, but all I can say is how much I value my ability to be independent with a reliable wheelchair that gives me the ability to move, socialise and just live life on my terms. If you’re able to help, you will be giving me my legs, my social life and above all the ability to live as independently as possible for someone who is severely paralysed and wants to enjoy life to the fullest.
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