John was simply getting on the bus one day when his leg gave way. At the time he was in his early thirties. That was thirty years ago and he has battled issues with his health ever since.
His 26 year old daughter, Amelia, says even as a little girl she knew he had problems: “Dad had his first operation when I was five and has used a walking stick for most of my life.”
By the mid 1990s John had developed spinal stenosis. This meant he was constantly having pain in his back and found walking increasingly difficult. By 2015 his mobility was severely affected and he was confined to his home for lengthy periods of time.
John said: “If I walked too far, I would be in intense pain and eventually my leg would buckle and I’d fall.”
Working became impossible and feeling like a prisoner in his own home it all began to take its toll on John’s mental health. Amelia says her usually funny dad who makes her laugh every day was increasingly short tempered and low.
Despite having donated each month to the Charity during his many years working for the Department for Work and Pensions, John had never thought to ask for help for himself. Fortunately a colleague concerned about John’s wellbeing suggested he contact the Charity to ask about support.
By providing him with financial support to pay for a self-propelled manual wheelchair, we’ve enabled John to get out of his house and once again enjoy outings with his family or simply get some fresh air in the countryside.
John said: “I couldn’t get out of my house and I was missing even the little things like going to Tesco to do the shopping. Now we can go down to the seaside again, the water’s edge in town or to the Broads. I don’t need someone to push me but I like it when Amelia does, I’m not a good driver!”
Now medically retired, John has had a tough year spending the first five months in hospital with meningitis. Home again, he is determined to get out and about as much as possible and the wheelchair is helping him to do just that.
John said: “It’s made a real difference, I feel like it’s given me my life back. I can go outside anytime I want. I feel like part of the world again.”