Mother-of-two Rita Shalom, a wheelchair user from Luton in Bedfordshire, contracted meningitis whilst on holiday with her sister and friends back in 1989, when she was 19.
“I was in quite a bad way because it was diagnosed quite late in”, she said. “The medics in Lisbon were not sure I would make it, so my parents were flown out by the insurance company - just in case. Luckily I pulled through but I was left paralysed from the neck down. I’m not that way now - now I’m paralysed from the hip down, am married and have two gorgeous children! I’ve come a long way with support for many areas in my life.”
Facing a hefty bill
But Rita found herself facing a hefty bill to transfer her roof chair stowage topper from one car to another – something that she had never expected to have to pay but for a change in the rules. Without it she would have found herself stranded at home and unable to run her children around.
“Without this adaptation I would be more housebound than not” Rita added.
“The difference support from Meningitis Now has made for me going forward is that I can keep mobile with a much-needed adaptation on my car, so not only can I get myself out of the house from time to time but also assist my family with some of their travel needs. It’s allowed me to continue to contribute to my family’s needs and means I can help my family as much as they can help me - I can give back in my own way despite my disability."
Opportunity to move forward
“Thank you to Meningitis Now for your support. It’s given me the opportunity to move forward with my life.”
We’re delighted to have been able to contribute through our Rebuilding Futures Fund to the costs of transferring Rita’s roof chair topper from one motability vehicle to her new one. Cheryl Brown, who heads up our Rebuilding Futures Fund, said Rita’s award makes it 38 awards that have been issued since the fund was launched in April.
“We’re delighted to help Rita with this application,” she said. “Supporting people to maintain their independence is so important. But, by enabling Rita to continue to play a valuable role in family life, it has also contributed to her self-esteem."
A small sum makes a big difference
“A relatively small sum had made a really big difference to her wellbeing and this is what underpins our Rebuilding Futures Fund.”
The Rebuilding Futures Fund has four categories – health and wellbeing, specialist equipment, opportunities and bereavement.
“We are really pleased with the response to the fund so far and are delighted that we have already had so many fantastic applications,” Cheryl added. “From art therapy sessions to contributions towards funeral costs, we are always happy to be able to help people at a point in their lives when they really need it. Often it’s just a little bit of assistance that makes all the difference and it’s heart-warming to hear how the Fund is helping so many people.”
Cheryl is encouraging others impacted by meningitis to find out more about the Rebuilding Futures Fund. “Our support team is always happy to talk things through with you, so if you think you could benefit from a contribution do get in touch with our friendly Helpline who will help you get things moving – and will do their best to answer all your questions.”
Read more about Meningitis Now's financal support.