Where to start, that is the question.
Essentially and money raised will be put forward as a deposit to buy a house for me and my family so my disabled Wife is able to have the required adaptations to the property to aid her mobility and maintain her independence and have outside space that is private so she doesn't feel trapped behind 4 walls.
Why am I asking for help? Because we can't afford a deposit essentially. Like so many others, we privately rent and find it difficult to save any funds at all each month, so finding the amount needed for a deposit is nigh impossible.
We have family that would love to help, but cannot afford to either, and with my wife being Disabled and not able to work, we are living off my salary and the meagre benefits she gets.
Why are we different from others? We're not, to be honest. Many people both disabled and able bodied are likely to find themselves in the same situation, and it is indicative of the times we live in that this is the case.
Let me tell you a little about my wife;
Sharon is a 40 year old Mother and Wife, and we adore her. She is an amazing woman with a strength she doesn't realise, and I have no idea how she gets through each day knowing she is in constant pain, some day more so than others.
A couple of years ago, Sharon did something amazing, she became Slimming World Woman of the year for our area. In one year she lost 5 1/2 Stone, and really loving life and being very active. She put me to shame, and it was hard to keep up, but I was so happy and so proud of her and her achievement.
Sadly, the good times didn't last and Sharon became increasingly tired and run down, seemingly for no reason. Initially we thought she was just overdoing things, but we were wrong, something else had developed.
After months of tests and doctor and hospital appointments, Sharon was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/M.E and Fibromyalgia.
We were stunned, we had no idea what these conditions were or how best to treat them. We were even more shocked when we discovered that there is no cure.
So, what are these conditions?
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a medical condition characterized by long-term fatigue and other long-term symptoms that limit a person's ability to carry out ordinary daily activities.
Fibromyalgia: A disease characterized by chronic pain, stiffness, and tenderness of muscles, tendons, and joints, without detectable inflammation. Fibromyalgia does not cause body damage or deformity. However, undue fatigue plagues 90 percent of patients with fibromyalgia. Sleep disorder is also common in patients with fibromyalgia.
What followed was trial and error to find the right medications to limit the symptoms and address the pain. We found a workable solution, but nothing worked 100%
Shortly after, Sharon started have severe headaches that just wouldn't quit, and getting out of bed was all but impossible. The only way to manage the pain was to not move. None of the medication given for this worked.
Eventually, after what seemed like years, which was in fact weeks, we were able to use my medical cover from work to get a lumbar puncture performed to confirm suspicions of our neurologists.
Sharon had IIH sometime known as BIH. A rare condition that effects maybe 1 in every 100,000.
What is IIH/BIH?
Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH) is a neurological condition of unknown cause defined by increased intracranial pressure (ICP) around the brain without the presence of tumour or disease. The space around the brain is filled with water like fluid (Cerebrospinal Fluid - CSF).
Just seemed like one hit after another.
The piste de resistance was the most recent diagnosis, Ankylosing Spondylitis of the lower back.
What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?
Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that affects the spine. Ankylosing spondylitis symptoms include pain and stiffness from the neck down to the lower back. The spine's bones (vertebrae) fuse together, resulting in a rigid spine.
Strangely enough, this had been masked for while due to Sharon also having hypermobility, both a blessing and a curse so it seems, but she had that for decades. And I just thought she was "bendy".
Added to all of these physical conditions, my darling wife also suffers with Depression and Anxiety. You'd think that the conditions would have obviously led to mental health issues too, but sadly, she suffered undiagnosed with this for years, even before I met her, and only really came to light after our Son was born. Sharon has medication for this too, and it helps, but there are still dark days and weeks she endures.
So, with all the conditions, you can quite rightly assume she is on one heck of a cocktail of medication. And don't get me wrong, it all helps, but none of it is a 100%, Sharon is no longer the active person she once was.
Simply walking can be impossible some days, her mobility has got that bad.
We have got walking sticks, wheeled walkers, and even an electric wheelchair (which friends and family and work colleagues helped fund), which helps with Sharon's independence and mobility. Yet we would still need to have adaptations to any property to assist with getting around the house, something we cannot do whilst privately renting due to the type of property we are in or it just not being feasible.
We have explored alternate private accommodation, which unfortunately has become even more expensive over the years and now has exceeded our reach. We are on the Council's Housing register and have been for almost 3 years, to try and secure a property that would be suitable, but even that has proved fruitless, and the council have often stated we'd be better off finding something privately ourselves.
So, the only real option left is to buy. We have sought advice from people like the CAB amd Shelter, and found a specialist that helps liaise with Mortgage brokers on behalf of disabled people to secure a suitable mortgage and take all benefits and payments in account when calculating income. However, we have been advised, the minimum deposit will be 5%.
I have searched the local area, which we need to stay in for my wife's doctors and consultants at the hospital, plus her family are in this area and they provide support too and our Son is settled in his current school, and the lowest suitable property is in the region of £400K, puting the deposit at £20K, so that's our aim.
I have no justification of why we deserve this more than anyone else, or why I should even be asking, as I have already said, many others are in the same situation. And I have no words to convince you why you should help. All I can say at this juncture is, if you feel you can help and want to help, and more importantly, can afford to help, we would be eternally grateful. I'd even be happy to do a private Santa visit in return if you're local, as I support local Charities and Schools by being Santa Claus for grottos and events.
If you've read this far in relation to our project, thankyou. It may seem silly, but just having people know about our situation is releasing some of the pressure.
If you can, and want to, and can afford to support our project to raise funds for a deposit then please do, and thankyou so very very much.