Recipients of Challenge-TM funds.
Diane Wooller from Essex was the first recipient of funds from Challenge-TM in February 2022.
Here is Di’s story (in her own words):
“I woke up on 11th September 2021 with numbness in my left leg. I ended up in hospital an hour later with paralysis from the waist down. Corda equina syndrome was ruled out and I was initially misdiagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome. Eventually, 3 weeks in (after yet another MRI) I was told I have transverse myelitis. I had never heard of it before – despite being a qualified nurse. I thought I would never walk again. A friend of mine, Kevin, asked on Twitter if anyone knew anything about this condition. Ted Reddick replied. We spoke on the phone several times – which helped me to understand the condition and what I needed to do as, up until then, I had just paid for private physio 3 times a week as I had no help whatsoever from the NHS (basically I was discharged home with a walking frame and shower chair!) Ted kindly recommended Hobbs Rehabilitation – with whom he had been treated – and offered to assist with the costs of my treatment. I had two weeks intensive neurological physiotherapy at the Hobbs facility in Lambourn, Berkshire as an inpatient. Ted had raised money to help people like myself and paid for half of my fees. I will be forever grateful as now I walk unaided – a bit wobbly – and I have returned to work as a Community Matron.”
Emma from Hertfordshire was helped in April 2022.
This is Emma’s story:
“I’m 33 and developed TM in September 2015 whilst suffering from dengue hemorrhagic fever, which I caught from a mosquito bite whilst in Myanmar.
TM affected everything from my ability to walk to ability to hold cutlery to eat a meal. I’ve worked very hard on my physical recovery for many hours each week since and in some areas have seen huge improvements, but less improvements in my extremities. It also really affects my energy and function, I now have to plan and limit how much I do each day to prevent physical decline (and keep up a good exercise regime).
I used to work as an artist and designer but since the TM have really struggled with anything that involves hand function. I’ve worked on developing this with the aim of returning to life as an artist for over 5 years. Returning to any form of employment has been a major obstacle for me, despite trying repeatedly. But last year, after some guidance I decided to re train in something that could be used to help others following life changing injuries or illness, and wasn’t as physically demanding. So I am currently training to become a life coach, and I hope to be able to primarily use this in charity settings using my own background to help others with their recovery. I have been doing some volunteering with a charity called Climbing Out which provides coaching through activity courses, I hope to join them again later this year when I’m in a better position myself physically.
In January this year (2022) I suffered some sort of setback (still to be investigated). This affected both my legs and my walking especially. At Christmas I’d been able to climb two mountains for charity with other disabled people but at the end of January I was struggling to walk a few steps from my bed to the bathroom at home. I knew, from past experience, that whatever was wrong physiotherapy would be the route to helping me get back to walking again as this is particularly important to me – as one of my main hobbies is being in the mountains. I’m actually training to become a mountain leader (although that’s on hold due to current health) to allow me to help more disabled people access the mountains.
I undertook a month of sessions twice weekly at Prime Physio. At Prime they helped identify the muscle groups that need most work to get me walking with more stability. We used a combination of FES, gait drills, and strengthening exercises to improve my walking. My walking has definitely improved, particularly when trying to carry objects, I was losing my balance a lot and now I can walk and carry objects. I have managed to go from needing two canes to one cane outside and no canes inside.
The input from Prime has also helped my gym training enormously too, which allows me to now tackle bigger challenges. I now have a better understanding of the muscle groups I need to focus on, and ways to prepare my body for movement. I am so grateful to Ted and the Challenge-TM fund for helping me through a really tough time when my TM had impacted my walking so greatly. Although my recovery will be lifelong I now know what to keep working on to get stronger and move better from this relapse.”