At 18 I was just your average university student in my first term getting adjusted to my new student life. Unfortunately for me, life was quickly turned upside down when I suddenly began to have severe mobility problems. Initially it was just my left leg, then my right. In as little as 2 months I was virtually unable to walk.
After a series of medical tests, I was diagnosed with a spinal Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM), a rare condition that meant I had an abnormal tangle of blood vessels on my spinal cord. I underwent a series of unsuccessful operations to remove it. Finally, the brilliant neurosurgeon, Henry Marsh, was able to but the damage had already been done. I found out not only was I paralysed from the waist down on my left side, I had now also lost all feeling in my left side. The doctors told me it was unlikely that I would ever walk again.
It was a truly traumatic time but I got on with my life. I managed to complete my degree, I got a job and my own flat. I spent time fundraising for charities that help other people like me. But, even though I accepted my condition, I have never accepted this wheelchair or the idea that I will never walk again.
In September 2017, I came across the ReWalk exoskeleton. I’d seen this kind of tech before but ReWalk seemed different. I contacted them and amazingly, they offered me a trial session. 10 minutes into the session I was crying like a baby. For the first time in 14 years, I was walking across a room towards my family and friends.
Understandably access to this kind of expensive tech doesn’t exist on the NHS but unfortunately, my civil servant salary doesn’t stretch to include the £80,000 needed to buy this incredible device. I have always prided myself on never asking for help but now I need it.
I want to go for a walk with my family without them pushing me when the terrain gets tough. I want to go shopping with my friends and be able to see over the clothes rails. I want to just walk up the stairs at my parent’s house.
Help me raise the funds
I will work for it. From now on, for however long it takes, I will be raising money through various activities. Any contribution you can make will be immeasurably appreciated. Whether that’s a share of my campaign on social media, spare time to help me fundraise or a donation on my go fund me page, everything helps! I’m going to track everything I’m doing on my social media channels and blog so please follow me and send good thoughts to help me on my way – I’m definitely going to need them!
Thank you so so so much to everyone who has already helped me on this journey, I can’t express just how much it means to me.
Love Lucy x