Lisa's Emergency Bereavement Fund
Lisa has osteogenesis imperfecta and a collection of chronic health problems which prevent her from working. Because of Lisa's impairments and ill health, together with the fact she is dealing with this entirely on her own, staying in her father's empty house two hours away from her own home, she faces a particularly mammoth and distressing task.
She needs money to pay for Terry's funeral and to help put his house in order. The interior of the house is in a poor state with some damage to the walls caused by wheelchairs, hoists and an electric adjustable bed. There is a quantity of old disability equipment and household items which would not be worth any money, but which Lisa hopes will prove invaluable to those who can make use of them.
Lisa can't reach high shelves or access the building's loft, nor can she lift or carry heavy objects. At the moment, her ill health prevents her from driving, so the process of organising and clearing out the house is likely to prove very expensive, with Lisa needing to hire in people who can do perform these tasks. Although Lisa has many friends, we are geographically distant and almost all of us have either heavy work commitments or our own health problems which prevent us providing practical support.
Without financial help, Lisa will face taking on massive debts at the most difficult time of her life.
Lisa gives a lot in time and energy to her friends and community. She is a popular and passionate disability rights campaigner who blogs at Lisybabe's Blog and Where's the Benefit? A former stand-up comedian, she has been on the Independent on Sunday Rainbow List of the most influential LGBT people in the UK for three years running.
This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write. I hate begging for help. It shames me to my core because I’ve always been so independent. I’ve spent 5 weeks so far mentally trying to think of the best way to word this, coming up blank because this ordeal has just crushed me and robbed my of ability to think clearly enough to write.
It’s now over 7 months since my dad died, and I’m still clearing out his house because I’m too severely disabled and I have no access to any help. I have no partner, no children, no siblings, no parents, nobody. I’m not eligible for a local authority care package because I can get myself out of bed, washed, dressed, toileted, and fed.
For the first two and a half months, my friends were amazing. I had people popping in a couple of times a week to help, despite my dad’s house being so far from away everyone I’ve ever met. But people have lives, jobs, courses, families, commitments, and they can’t keep travelling to the end of the earth (literally, dad’s house is on the coast) to help me.
I don’t think my health – either physical or mental - has ever been worse. In those 7 months I’ve had 3 fractures, dislocations, and God knows what I did to my left hip. It was worse than the fractures even though the bone wasn’t damaged. My other health problems are all worse now due to what I’ve done to my body straining to get dad’s house cleared. My severely arthritic knee is even more worn. My migraines seem to be getting more frequent.
Panic attacks are a daily reality for me now. As they would be for anyone that was trapped in an impossible situation that they couldn’t get out of without help, and they had no help. Half the time I can’t breathe properly or think clearly; which is what happens during a panic attack.
Even my dental health is affected by this ordeal and I’ve got gum disease for the first time since I was old enough to vote.
-What I need-
Ultimately, I need this ordeal to be over. This is destroying me and I don’t know how much longer I can survive like this, with this much pain and suffering.
I need about 2 more weeks of assistance from a personal assistant to help me pack up. The care agency I used (probably the only one that would take on a job like this) charge £1019 for 7 days help, plus GoFundMe would charge £65.21 in fees. So 7 days care would be £1084.21, and two weeks would be £2168.42.
Then I need help to redecorate dad’s house to cover up damage caused by wheelchairs and other disability equipment. I don’t know how much that’ll cost yet so I haven’t adjusted that GoFundMe total*; but as soon as I know; I’ll post an update.
Plus I also need to pay for:
• Waste removal = £210
• Plumber = Haven’t got a quote yet
• Boiler repair/annual safety check = Haven’t got a quote yet
* Well, the total at one point had £3000 added to it to cover the cost that someone was threatening to sue me over a debt of my dad’s, but that was resolved.
If I got help quickly, my suffering could be over by Xmas; 8 months after my dad died.
*A final plea*
Please, take a second to imagine that you were me. Imagine you had to clear out your dead relative’s house, while severely mobility impaired and seriously ill. So ill that you had to go home to medical appointments at least once a week. Imagine that you didn’t have anyone to help at all. Imagine you’d spent 7 months struggling to get your dad’s house packed up, and for 4 of the months you’d just been sat in a house of horrors, frantic, and all alone. Injuring yourself regularly because you have a condition that means you can fracture a rib while stepping up a kerb.
Or imagine this was happening to someone you loved. Wouldn’t you hope that someone would be there for them?
I know that we live in an awful world. Several people I know have recently had to set up their own GoFundMes. And I really couldn’t live with myself if anyone harmed themselves financially by donating to me.
But anyone can tweet or post on Facebook. So please, please, share this link.
Also, I know a lot of people at Christmas donate a couple of quid to worthy causes instead of spending the same amount of money on cards. If you know anyone who does this, maybe you could email them and suggest this GoFundMe as something to donate to?
Thank you for your time reading this. I really hope you can help me by sharing, even if you can’t donate.
@Marcia: I'm trying to raise money to hire some help to rescue the things I want to keep.
No, I said to get them in once you have rescued all the stuff you want! I wouldn't dream of telling anyone to throw away their mementoes and family history! That would be too cruel altogether. I'm sorry if I didn't make myself clear.
@Marcia: I have no family any more. All I've got left of them are the items in my parents house. My only tangible ties that I ever even had a family (apart from my own DNA) are things like my dad's swimming trophy, the certificate confirming that my mum qualified as an archery instructor, the family photos, the objects that my parents made at their pottery class. You're not the first person to tell me to hire a house clearance firm to throw all the evidence that I ever had a family away just because I'm disabled. But every time someone tells me that they don't believe that I should be allowed to keep keepsakes of my past purely because my skeleton doesn't work, I wind up in tears at the cruelty of the suggestion.
Can I make two suggestions? One is to get some house clearance people in, provided that you have got all the stuff you want out. The other is to auction the house. That would remove the need for redecoration, fixing the boiler etc. I auctioned my own house a few years ago and I was quite pleased with the price. It's worth thinking about (though a bit un-nerving). Hope you don't mind a total stranger making suggestions!
@Sylvia I haven't relocated to Clacton to start sorting through stuff yet. Drop me a line in 10-14 days once I've started to get a grip on things. I should stress that neither of the wheelchairs are in working order ATM. Whoever takes them would need to replace batteries and tyres to get the chairs moving again.
Lisa, I have a friend who may be interested in one of the electric wheelchairs and I'd be interested in a riser recliner of my own- if something towards taht would help the fund? I'm an online friend of Sarah Campbell's, if the name seems only half familiar.
@Lynn: Oh, yeah, I know that social services want their stuff back. And NHS wheelchair services want their manual wheelchair back. But there's 2 electric wheelchairs that dad *owns*, not borrowed from SS/NHS, that should go to people who need them. And a massive stash of incontinence pads that people can have, those things are expensive. And 2 riser armchairs. Plus when I merge my household with his household, most of his kitchen stuff can be given away because I don't need 2 of everything. That might as well go to someone previously homeless that's just got their first flat.
British Heart foundation will pick up any unwanted furniture for free. Mobility aids, if they came from social services will also be picked up by Social services. (recently had to clear my moms house)