Project Get Wendy Outdoors!
Thank you for taking the time to visit my page. I'm hoping for some lovely people to make a donation to help me fund the purchase of a specialised power wheelchair. Why? Here's my story....
Like countless people, I'd taken for granted the simple pleasures in life, like strolling on a beach hand in hand with my husband, being able to feel the sandy grittiness between my toes. These privileges were suddenly taken away in 2001 when I suffered a brain and spinal cord swelling caused by Lyme disease (an infection transmitted through a tick bite). I was left partially sighted, paralysed from the waist down and with multiple medical problems. My life was changed forever.
Following treatment for my Lyme disease I developed an auto-immune condition called 'Post Lyme Disease Syndrome' (PLDS), where the body's defences damage healthy tissues even after the infection has been treated. The PLDS combined with 14 years of being confined to a wheelchair has degenerated my spine above and below my original paralysis. Many of my disks are now pressing on my spinal cord, and the gaps in the vertebrae are closing, trapping the nerves inside. This has left me in permanent, acute pain and with dysfunction of my upper body, which I completely rely on because I'm paraplegic. Sadly, due to my complex medical issues, surgery would only be undertaken as a very last resort,
I'm so grateful for my NHS power chair, which has an anti-pressure seat, a contoured, head rest to support my neck, and a recline function to reposition me and relieve pressure from my spine. However, accessing anything but flat, smooth ground isn't possible because of its low ground clearance, lack of adequate suspension and small castor wheels. Every jolt creates almost unbearable pain. Even the pavements around my home are too bumpy for me to bear. Filming locally for my fundraising video meant an increase in my, already high, level of pain medication for several days.
I had fought hard to make a positive out of my personal tragedy, and for ten years I was a director and the Chairperson for a charity dedicated to Lyme disease awareness and prevention in the UK. Sadly, due to a lack of volunteer support and funding, the charity closed last year. The one thing that kept me focused, took my mind off my own problems, and gave me a feeling of purpose and giving back to society, was gone.
Only a year ago I got two fantastic dogs to encourage me to get out and give a new focus. But soon after the severe pain and dysfunction resulting from my degenerating spine began. Now that I have the time to do things with family and friends, my body is failing me. The legacy of Lyme disease and my paralysis has left me even more impaired. I've spent nearly a year virtually housebound, and with no hope of improvement. While my husband walks our beloved dogs in places we once went together, I'm limited to the four walls of our home. My world has once again shrunk.
Having the ability to choose to go out would be life changing. Getting out would not only give me a new focus, it would also open up so many opportunities to me. I could maybe even start volunteering again. None of this will be possible unless I can access the right chair.
In order to purchase the kind of chair to meet my physical requirements, I need about £19,500. But I also need some funds to maintain it (servicing and repairs). I'm therefore trying to raise around £22,000.
The reality is that grants for disabled adults are few, hard to access, are often limited to small amounts, and can take many months or even years to realise. Every £1 would bring me ever closer to my goal. If many people work together, to give whatever they can afford, then my dream could become a reality.