FUNDRAISING DRIVE TO GET NATASHA OUT OF THE HOUSE

A BALLYGOWAN woman, desperate to help her housebound daughter, hopes to raise funds for a life-changing wheelchair.

For the last four years, Natalie Hampton’s daughter Natasha, has been unable to leave her house for more than an hour at a time.

The 16 year-old, who has a rare chromosome disorder which has left her immobile and non-verbal, was left with a life-changing injury to her spinal cord following surgery to the same area back in September 2019.

The injury has left Natasha requiring round-the-clock-care, with a life-threatening condition called automatic dysrelexia – which can cause her blood pressure to rise dangerously high and lead to a stroke.

This condition has resulted in Natasha needing repositioned every two hours – meaning she is unable to sit in her current wheelchair for more than a maximum of two hours at a time.

Natalie explained that as her daughter’s wheelchair does not allow for her to be repositioned appropriately, she has been unable to leave her house for the last four years along with her mum and younger brother Ruben.

Hoping to help her family spend time together again, Natalie has set up a Go Fund Me page, in hopes of raising money for a specialised wheelchair, costing over £21,000, which would meet Natasha’s needs.

“Natasha’s surgery didn’t go to plan and her spinal cord was nicked, causing a spinal cord injury which has basically left her with an array of needs on top of what she already had,” Natalie explained.

“Before surgery, Natasha was able to go anywhere and everywhere with us. But since spinal surgery, she is now housebound, she’s medicated 12 times a day, she has to be catheterised three times an hour, has to be repositioned every two hours and she has been left with epilepsy.

“She has also been left with automatic dysrelexia and that means if she is in any discomfort at all – such as sitting in a chair in one position for too long, tight clothing, headaches or stomach aches – that can then rise Natasha’s blood pressure rapidly and cause her to have a stroke.”

The specialised electric wheelchair, the Permobil M3, would allow for Natasha to be laid flat and tilted, and repositioned regularly when needed – meaning the family could once again enjoy the outdoors together.

“Natasha hasn’t had a family day out with us in four-and-a-half years,” Natalie continued.

“We literally can’t spend time together as a family and it is heartbreaking because you feel so guilty walking out the house and leaving her behind all the time.”

Natalie is currently in the midst of an ongoing battle for a care package and hopes that the specialised wheelchair would help her regain ‘a family life’.

“I’m a mum who grieves for the daughter I once had, that was everywhere with us and I can’t even get her out of the house,” she added.

She continued that being unable to readily leave the house has left a strain between the relationship of her two children.

“After the surgery their bond really fractured and we are trying to build that bond back now he is a bit older and a bit more understanding,” she said.

“There have been incidents when I have made plans to take Ruben out but if a carer phones in sick I’m left having to let him down because I can’t leave the house with Natasha for any period of time.”

Natalie paid tribute to her partner Chris Harvey, who she said had helped ease the pressure in the family home.

Natalie said the new wheelchair would give Natasha a ‘better quality of life’, benefitting her physical and mental health.

She said if they were able to raise funds for the chair, the first thing she would do is take her family to Crawfordsburn for a long walk along the coastal path – where they spent a lot of their time prior to Natasha’s surgery.

To help Natalie reach her fundraising goal visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/life-changing-wheelchair-for-natasha