29-year-old Chesterfield woman suffers terrible injuries after seizures
Chesterfield’s community has fundraised £3,000 to provide a wheelchair to help a 29-year-old woman who has suffered seizures since birth that caused her life-changing injuries.
Maria Smalley, 57, from Walton, set up a Go Fund Me page for her daughter Claire, who is disabled and has brain damage along with behavioural and learning difficulties, almost two weeks ago to give her some more independence once lockdown is over.
The 29-year-old contracted Encephalitis – a rare but serious condition that causes inflammation of the brain – when she was 11 months old which has resulted in her having daily uncontrolled epileptic seizures.
Claire has suffered serious life changing injuries, such as breaking her cheek bone, eye socket, nose and snapping her front tooth in half, as a result of the seizures which are brought on randomly without any warning.
Both the Walton residents said they were ‘overwhelmed’ by the generosity they received from the local community which raised the £3,000 needed to get the 29-year-old an electric wheelchair in less than a week.
Maria thanked the public for helping improve her daughter’s quality of life with the new device.
"I was absolutely shocked by how fast and how much people donated”, she said.
"She's never going to be going out alone in it because she could still have a seizure in the wheelchair so there's still got to be someone at very close quarters.
"But we can go out together, take the dog for a walk, I can walk alongside Claire and she can operate the wheelchair herself.
"It would make life so much easier, as she's just not had any independence at all – but at least she's safe and that's the main thing because of the horrendous injuries in her past.”
The 57-year-old who is a full time carer for Claire, recently had a hip replacement making it more difficult to support her daughter and help her get out and about.
But Maria is confident the new device will help the 29-year-old, who attends Edmund Street Activity Centre – a group for disabled people, have some more freedom.
She added: "It made us cry when we heard we'd hit the fundraising target.
"Claire is absolutely thrilled and looking at wheelchairs and getting excited.”
You can donate to Claire’s fundraiser here.