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Esther Fox (left) with sister Susanah Appleyard, husband Bernard and her dog, Moses.

A walk to get Esther back on the road

This Saturday, 1 August, a small group of friends will be walking over 15 miles to raise money for a wheelchair for their friend Esther Fox. The walk will start at 10am from Eastbourne Pier and they hope to finish it around 4pm on Hastings Pier. HOT’s Erica Smith pulled on her hiking boots and caught up with the friends behind the fundraiser.

In the last year or so, due to problems with her current wheelchair, Esther has been unable to access places she has previously enjoyed and her independence has been severely restricted.

Esther explains:  “I have been a wheelchair user all my life due to a muscle wasting condition Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  I use the term “user” because I see my chair as a tool that I use to enable me to fully participate in life. I am not “bound” or “confined” to a chair, because it should be there to ensure I can be as independent as possible. I work full time creating and delivering projects that I hope make a difference to other disabled people’s lives, as I believe everyone should have access to culture and heritage. My independence is extremely important for me to be able to keep working.

In the last year I have never felt more “dis-abled” because of my current electric wheelchair. It is a new one allocated via the NHS, and exchanged for my old one. Numerous control glitches have been evident since the start – these include two incidents where it has overridden my inputs and driven me off the side of a ramp. The consequences could have been disastrous but thankfully, on these occasions, I was caught by my husband and a friend. Despite repeated efforts, engineers have been unable to rectify the issues and frustratingly my old wheelchair is gone for good.

This has greatly restricted my independence and damaged my confidence. My friends and family have seen the huge impact this is having on my life and convinced me we should fundraise for a new chair which can give me my independence back.  We have found a chair that will enable me to do all these things and I am very grateful to anyone who is kind enough to donate to this cause.”

The new chair will cost around £14,000. If there is any money left over after purchasing it, the excess will be donated to ‘Designability’ a fantastic organisation that amongst other things has designed, produced and loans the amazing Wizzybug, a wheelchair specifically for under fives.

Friends Adrian Ford-Crush and Ewa Patmore have written Facebook posts about the walk. COVID 19 has made it difficult to do most of the fundraising events that they originally planned and this walk is one of only a few that can go ahead.

If you’d like to support this fundraiser and those taking part in the walk on Saturday please visit their GoFundMe page.

You can read more about Esther Fox in this HOT article.

Posted 15:35 Wednesday, Jul 29, 2020 In: Hastings People

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