Lucy's Legs

13 June 2018 14:14
Lucy with family.

'At 18 I was just your average university student. I was so excited about the prospect of starting a new chapter in my life at Lancaster University. It was a long way from my family and friends back in Surrey, but I didn’t let that phase me. Fresher’s week was a bit of a blur but I was loving living in the then ‘Lonsdale main’. My flat mates were great fun and we were all getting on really well. It wasn’t until the beginning of November in Michaelmas term in my first term that things quickly deteriorated I suddenly began to have severe mobility problems. Getting up those all so famous stairs at the Carlton Nightclub in Morecambe suddenly became so hard! Initially the problems were just with my left leg, and then my right leg became affected too. In as little as 2 months I was virtually unable to walk and after returning home at the end of term I had begun to realise that my plans for university might have to change.

To cut a rather long story short, 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 had an operation to remove this but it was unsuccessful and I was paralysed from the waist down.

It was a truly traumatic time but the university was so incredibly supportive. I had to defer my place but when I returned, it was almost as though I had never been away. The only thing that was different was that I was now in a wheelchair but I still made sure I got my regular fix of Sugarhouse trips!

I got on with my life. I managed to complete my BA in English Language (albeit a year after the rest of my cohort/friends). I will be forever grateful for the support that the University offered me and I look back at my time in Lancaster with nothing but wonderful memories, even during some very difficult times. 

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 mins 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 have decided to launch the ‘Lucy’s Legs’ campaign so I can have my own device and help to spread the word of this would be hugely appreciated. 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!

Please visit my website for more details:'

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