Meningitis Now staff member Andy Hopkinson

Regaining Seema's independence after meningitis

Andy Hopkinson | 9th June 2021

A powered wheelchair funded through our Rebuilding Futures Fund is helping a woman regain her independence and rely less on her family as she fights back from meningitis

Rebuilding Futures Fund helps Seema regain independence after meningitis

Seema, from Cheshunt in Hertfordshire, contracted meningococcal septicaemia on 5 July 2015, a few months before her 60th birthday.

The disease led to bilateral amputations below both knees and partial digit amputations on all fingers. Seema also suffered skin scarring and was left immobile and dependent on her family.

“I had difficulty standing from a standard wheelchair and suffered a lack of independence due to my limited range of movement,” she said.

Needed my children to lift me

“I needed my children to lift and transfer me, cook for me, take me to the toilet and pass me anything I needed.”

But a powered wheelchair supported by our Rebuilding Futures Fund, which has powered seat lift, tilt and recline amongst other features, has brought her greater independence, comfort and ability.

“It allows for a better position for me to attempt to stand from. This same feature allows me easy reach, so I can get things for myself regardless of height – I’m able to make myself a cup of tea, go shopping and attempt to cook.

“The shock absorber and suspension helps me greatly,” Seema added. “Previously, when traveling in my old wheelchair, bumpy roads would cause me a lot of pain. And because of my mobility issues I am often in my wheelchair in one fixed position - this could become very uncomfortable.

“But the new Permobil Wheelchair has various positions which give me the comfort lacking in my NHS issued wheelchair.”

Such a difference

Meningitis Now’s Helpline and Information Manager Claire Donovan said: “This is exactly the sort of equipment that can make such a difference to those fighting back from meningitis and its devastating after-effects. We’re so pleased to know that our Rebuilding Futures Fund support for Seema’s powered chair is having such a positive impact on her life.”

Claire added: “We know meningitis can have a devastating impact on many aspects of life and affect people’s ability to engage in some of the things most people take for granted.

“That’s where our Rebuilding Futures Fund can make such a difference by providing a practical solution that works, bringing opportunity and reducing stress and anxiety.

“We’re proud to provide this unique, life-changing support – the only meningitis organisation to do so in the UK.”

Support for people of all ages

Our Rebuilding Futures Fund provides financial, practical and emotional support for people of all ages affected by meningitis.

It comprises four separate areas – Health and Wellbeing; Opportunities; Specialist Equipment; and Bereavement. Each area provides funding towards different types of support, buy they are all designed to help people rebuild their futures with hope and confidence.

If you, or someone you know would benefit from the Rebuilding Futures Fund please get in touch by contacting your Community Support Officer or our Helpline, on 0808 80 10 388 or by emailing