TV presenter Richard Hammond, who suffered a traumatic brain injury himself after a high-speed crash whilst filming in 2006, introduces QEF and shows how their expert teams enable disabled people of all ages to achieve their potential and live as independently as possible.
Richard Hammond says, “In 2006 I crashed at very high speed whilst filming. It took months of rehabilitation for me to recover and was a difficult and at times scary process for me and my family. That’s why I want to tell you about the vital work that goes on at QEF.”
The programme is currently available on the BBC Lifeline website and shares the experiences of three families from across the UK who have all had their lives transformed by the charity.
Edwina from Surrey came to QEF’s Care and Rehabilitation Centre after she was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a rare condition caused by inflammation of the spinal cord that left her suddenly paralysed from the waist down. The multi-disciplinary teams of psychologists, physiotherapists, speech and language and occupational therapists support people to relearn core skills and rebuild their lives after a stroke, brain injury, incomplete spinal injury or neurological illness. Edwina was determined to work hard in her therapy sessions although no one could promise her that she would be able to walk again. After 7 months with QEF she is now at home and can walk around her flat with the support of a small walking frame.
Edwina says “I wasn’t making any progress in hospital, not that I could see or feel. So to me it was very very important to get to QEF as soon as I possibly could. Almost as soon as I arrived, they had me in the gym and up on my feet for the first time in 3 months, with the aid of specialist equipment. I never could have hoped to have made this much progress and I am grateful to QEF for that.”
For many disabled people driving isn’t a luxury, but a vital tool that can significantly improve quality of life. Kumba from Croydon contracted polio when she was 4 years old, which made it painful for her to walk; even with crutches. As a mum to triplets, everyday tasks such as getting her children to school on public transport, were immensely stressful. She went to QEF Mobility Services to see if learning to drive could be an option for her. After an assessment with an occupational therapist, adaptations to a car and driving lessons with specialist instructors, Kumba and her family haven’t looked back.
Kumba says: “If the Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation (for Disabled People) was not there I don’t think I would‘ve got my independence. Knowing that they did it for me to be able to move on and have that joy of going places, that is something that nobody will understand how I feel”
Independent mobility is just as vital for young children, so they can explore the world around them, play with siblings and friends and develop key skills. Melissa from Cumbria is mum to four-year-old twins Carter-Ray and Deacon-James, who both have Centronuclear Myopathy. Both are dependent on a ventilator to breath and are unable to walk or crawl, so they can’t be anywhere without their parents.
Both boys received a Bugzi – a uniquely adaptable mini powered wheelchair for children, through the free Bugzi loan scheme. Their Bugzis were also adapted so their ventilators could be mounted on the back, enabling the boys to be truly independent for the very first time.
Melissa says “It melts my heart to know that my children have been given something that can change their life. We are able to get out as a family and they are able to go where they want to go and show us what they want to do…. they’ve got that independence to guide themselves to where they want to be.”
More information is available on the BBC Lifeline website where people can also find out how to support QEF’s work, so that disabled people of all ages can live as independently as possible.