Glen Johnson from Manchester contracted meningitis when he was just a few days old, back in 1983. After-effects from the disease mean that since then he has needed a high level of care and needs constant help and support to walk only short distances.
According to mum Gwynn, Glen has been able, along with the support of his carers, to maintain his independence with his mobility car. At least, he had - until changes to the way he received health funding meant he lost his PIP Mobility Allowance and his car had to be returned, leaving Glen with no transport.
“This was devastating," said Gwynn. “Glen’s car is his lifeline and without it he would not be able to maintain an optimum level of independence and a good quality of life. He wouldn't be able to enjoy and maintain relationships with his family and friends, to form new relationships in the area he now lives, go on holidays and visits to his family in Wales”.
Glen has had to lease a car, insure it and pay for all running cost out of his benefits, leaving him very little money for other expenditure. So Glens mum applied for a contribution towards his insurance costs from the Rebuilding Futures Fund and Meningitis Now was delighted to be able to step in and pay the contribution.
Gwynn said they were "elated" when the news came through. "His car really helps give Glen a good quality of life," she said. “He can meet his old friends in Salford. He can go to clubs and meet his mates there, he can go and meet new friends, go to a local pottery class and enjoy lots of other activities."
"This fund really is a lifeline - it improves everything".
Cheryl Brown, who heads up the Rebuilding Futures Fund for Meningitis Now, said that Glenn’s award was just one of 28 that had been made since the fund was launched in April. The Rebuilding Futures Fund has four categories – Glen’s payment came under “specialist equipment”, while the other three are “health and wellbeing”, “bereavement” and “opportunities”.
“We are really pleased with the response to the fund so far and are delighted that we have already had so many fantastic applications,” said Cheryl.
“From art therapy sessions to contributions to 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 not immediately obvious how a contribution from our fund can really affect someone but then you hear stories life Glen’s and realise that even a little bit of assistance make such a difference."
“It’s absolutely heart-warming to hear how much this has helped Glen in so many different ways, helping him maintain as high a quality of life as possible and maximising his independence to be able to do simple things like going shopping, meeting friends and even going on holiday”.
Cheryl encouraged others to find out more about the Rebuilding Futures Fund, saying Meningitis Now support staff were always happy to help with advice in case someone wasn’t sure if they would be eligible or not.
“If you have been impacted by meningitis in any way and you think you could benefit from a contribution from us in any of the four categories, then get in touch with our Helpline staff who can talk things through with you,” she said.
“Our specially trained staff are here to help and will be able to answer all your questions."
“I can’t wait to see the next batch of applications and to hear back from those that we have already assisted."
“We know that our contributions are only a relatively small thing in the big scheme of things but already we can see that even a small amount can make a massive difference to someone’s life!”