My friend Sasha has 'long covid'. They got Covid-19 in March, and have been sick ever since.
Maybe you remember them from the frontline of the anti-fracking camps at Balcombe and Barton Moss, or from Reclaim The Power gatherings? Or serving you coffee and book recomendations while volunteering with the radical book shop Hydra? Or you might remember them just being around at various queer punk shows in Bristol. In any case, prior to March, Sasha was a fit and active 32 year old, who went bouldering, cycled for miles, went to gigs, and loved walking in the countryside.
So what's the problem?
Well, since getting ill in March, Sasha can't really do much - their symptoms include chest and muscle pain, shortness of breath, brain fog, thyroid and gastrointestinal issues and severe fatigue. They are unable to work (previously they were doing a physical job in a kitchen) and often can't even do basic everyday things like go to the local shop. They've had loads of blood tests and medical appointments and are currently waiting for a referral to the ME/CFS clinic. On bad days they are housebound and dont have the energy to cook for themself. Going to the local shop or doctor's (a 5-10 min walk) is often too much for them, and even on the good days their energy can drop so suddenly that getting back from somewhere means suddenly having to get an expensive taxi.
So what's the plan?
I want to buy them an electric scooter with a seat to give them a bit of mobility and independance again. I'm sticking this up there for them as it's hard being ill and asking for help. But sometimes we need to.
Why a scooter?
Because I'm one of the only people they know with a vehicle I've been supporting their mobility and taking them to the shops and to all their (many) doctors and hospital appointments. Although they'll still need this support or to get a taxi on their bad days, on good days a scooter will:
- Give them some autonomy. They won't have to rely on getting a lift to the corner shop all the time and will be able to get there themself. This independence will also be good for their mental health.
- Give them a social life outside the house. They'll be able to visit nearby friends' houses without getting taxis all the time. This will help stop them becoming isolated and will also save them a lot of money (which is important as they're now unable to work).
- Give them access to nature. Simple things like walking to the local park with a friend to feed the ducks are usually just too tiring at the moment. Even if they can't go on hikes, a scooter would enable them to get outside and enjoy the trees and fresh air in the park for a bit, or enable them to get to the nearby river path. Spending time outside in nature has also been proven to have many benefits for mental and physical health.
What will you do with the money?
The money will be used to buy a decent electric scooter with a seat. Anything left over will be donated to Base and Roses, a community food distribution project that's been providing foodboxes to the local community throughout the covid crisis.
If you know Sasha well enough to have a beer or coffee with, maybe consider dropping the cost of that into this crowdfunder instead.
If you don't know Sasha and want to donate anyway out of pure awesome selflessness- thank you, you're a star, and I hope the good stuff you put out there comes back round to help you out someday.
To everyone who donates, however much or little- thank you.