Debbie was diagnosed with secondary progressive Multiple Sclerosis in January last year. As her condition rapidly deteriorated, she was faced with either leaving the house she had lived in for almost twenty years or paying for house adaptations she couldn’t afford.
Before her diagnosis, Debbie had been a keen jogger and had raised money for charities, always striving to help others going through a tough time. This desire to support her community was also reflected in her career, working as a civil servant and then for the NHS, ultimately as a researcher. One day, she started to trip over her own feet, making it difficult to walk. That’s when her friends encouraged her to go to the doctors.
“I started running in 2015 because I thought to myself, if anything should happen to my legs, I would regret not giving it a go. It seems bizarre when I think about it now. I felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach when the doctor told me. It was such a massive blow.”
As time passed, Debbie’s condition became worse and she struggled to use the stairs and step into the bath. It eventually got to a point where her partner had to be by her side at all times in case she fell. Another big change in her life was having to take ill health retirement from the job she loved.
“It was a really low point for me. On top of leaving my job and losing my income, I started to feel unsafe around the house. We could see that my mobility was decreasing and it wasn’t going to get better. When you have a progressive condition, you don’t know what the future holds and that’s quite frightening.”
Debbie and her partner were faced with either moving from the home where they had raised her two children or use the little amount of savings they had to pay for the house adaptations she so desperately needed. That’s when she decided to give The Charity for Civil Servants a call. After knowing the situation in detail, we found that we could pay towards the house adaptations that had seemed so unrealistic for such a long time.
“I spoke to someone from the Charity on the phone and I started to feel more positive as we went through my situation and the paperwork. I burst into tears when I realised we could stay in our own home. I still feel quite emotional when I think about it. The generosity was amazing.”
Debbie now has a downstairs bedroom and wet room, restoring the freedom she had thought about all year. A few months on, she wants to spread the message of hope to anyone who can relate to her story.
“For anyone reading this who also lives with MS, I want to tell you that you’re not alone. Try and stay positive, don’t get caught up with what the future holds and just take one day at a time. Just live for the here and now.
“Donating to this Charity, gives us all the opportunity to make a difference to someone’s life. I can’t put into words the difference it’s made to me. I’ve got this beautiful room to show friends when they come round now. I feel safe and secure, it’s really lifted my spirits.”