Please help me get a safer wheelchair
Hi! I'm Donna and I'm fundraising towards a new wheelchair. I've had an electric wheelchair for about 5 years and in that time it opened up my world. It has allowed me to go to festivals, go on holidays, and has even helped when hanging out with friends because using my wheelchair allows me to keep up, whereas being on my feet would have left me in a lot of pain & missing out, or slowing people down. It truly is life changing.
My wheelchair is everything to me, it's my freedom, it's my independence, it's my lifeline to the outside world. I'm so thankful that I have access to mobility aids & a partner that's excellent with a socket set and has managed to maintain them well for me. He's managed to repair my current wheelchair twice with replacement parts when it has broken and has been unsafe, but I've reached a point where I'm on borrowed time until the next repair.
I've also had some serious changes to my level of need. I'm an ambulatory wheelchair user, which means that I can walk and use my wheelchair predominantly outside, however this has changed recently as I've lost feeling & muscle functioning in one of my feet. After seeing an orthopaedic specialist as an emergency they ruled out injuries and back issues, but no one had answers as to why this is happening and I have been referred to neurology for testing as I tick a lot boxes for symptoms of MS (multiple sclerosis). It has been a scary and distressing time and this issue has made walking much, more challenging. My foot shows no signs of improving, so this could be the new normal for me and less likely to be an injury. Meaning taking steps to secure a new wheelchair has become an urgent issue.
My current wheelchair isn't designed for long periods of time and becomes increasingly uncomfortable & painful to sit in, this also puts me at high risk of skin issues developing. This, along with the change in my level of need, means I need a more robust wheelchair, which is also generally more expensive.
I have an assessment on the 21st of March to try 3 wheelchairs, all of which are completely customisable to my specific needs and are adjustable should my needs change again, which is possible if I am confirmed to have MS.
The wheelchairs I will be trying are the quantum rehab Q6, the Quickie Q500 R and the Quickie Q700 R. These chairs are amazing! They're built to last and have some incredible features, which would open up the world even further to me.
Unfortunately the base models of all these wheelchairs start at around £5000 and become more expensive depending on the exact configuration you need. My exact requirements (and therefore price) will be confirmed to me after the assessment has been completed.
I try to be as independent as possible & I've been incredibly reluctant to crowd fund as I know from experience that most people are in situations where they're having to make their money stretch further & further, and this is especially true within the disabled community. Sadly, I have exhausted all other possible options. I'm not eligible for a powerchair on the NHS as I have too much mobility (something which I am working hard to keep) and a manual wheelchair is unsuitable for me because of my existing disability. Because I already have a vehicle on the motability scheme, I'm unable to lease a power chair as well, and I don't fit the criteria for any of the grants that are out there.
I've sold just about everything I can on Vinted and eBay, and my partner & I have stopped saving for our wedding to free up some money because this situation is a necessity for me, I can't imagine what life would look like for me without my wheelchair. This situation doesn't just impact me, it affects my partner too. Not having a safe wheelchair, puts pressure on him and the last thing I want to do is make life more difficult for others. My wheelchair = my independence.
My partner & I have adapted our home ourselves with the help and love of our friends, but this feels like a mountain of a problem that we don't have a solution for, so here we are. I'm asking for the kindness of strangers and the power of the Disabled community. It feels like a huge ask, especially now, but I promise to pay it forward whenever I'm able to.
Because it's a huge amount of money and because I have a money saved, I've set the funding amount to less than the base cost of the new wheelchair (£5000) this is figure is not inclusive of any adaptions or additional functionality (such as specialist seating or a tilt lift function that I might require). If anything Is raised above the target amount, it will still go towards the new chair and help pay for customisation or a boot hoist to get it in & out of the car. With a new chair as complex as the ones I'm looking at come new adaptions, as these chairs are too heavy to be lifted manually.
I will also update my journey along the way!
Even if you are not in a position to donate, I would massively appreciate people sharing this. If you've made it all the way to the end , thanks for reading! I appreciate it x
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