“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
– Ronald Reagan
“True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.”
– Franklin D. Roosevelt
We all deserve true freedom. It is a right of being human isn’t it? Of course our actions can mean our freedom is terminated, and rightly so if we’ve committed a crime, our freedom should then be forfeit. However, if we have our freedom removed through no fault of our own, through illness or similar then surely we have the right for support to regain that via tools or other means?
Many feel this way and in good faith, here in the UK at least, contact their local Council’s ‘Wheelchair Services’ team for help. But sadly the ideal of offering freedom is far from straightforward, or in many cases, hardly useful at all.
Allow me to explain.
I recently purchased a super lightweight wheelchair made by Quickie, from Simplyhealth. The whole process was excellent. There was no hard sell, the gentleman took professional measurements, kept me up to date, and delivered it when promised.
The problem was I had to find the £3,000 independently. My savings were eaten up some time ago, I don’t work due to my disability, and I do not have any rich relatives! There was a seemingly overwhelming amount of hoops to jump through to get any state help, and the voucher scheme is in reality nothing but a post code lottery; so even though my local ‘Wheelchair services’ team were contacted I decided I had no other option but to go it alone.
Social Media enabled me to ask friends to share, and to interact with kind hearted people. I was overwhelmed by the response from friends and was quickly up and running. What amazed me was the response from total strangers, people read my story and decided that they would dip in to their pockets and help my family and I become a working unit once more. My children were so excited at the thought of being able to go out as a family again.
I sent hundreds of emails, I contacted local businesses, Rotary Clubs and so on – a special thank you to Poole Rotary Club for their kind donation. It was humbling, and hard work (anyone with chronic fatigue will understand my point) I must’ve sent 4000 tweets alone. I felt like giving up many times!
Using the power of social media, I asked for re-tweets from all the known celebrities, but really was supported by;
I am very grateful to these.
The biggest surprise was the largest donation that helped us across the line from Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta. As a life long Gunners fan I was totally blown away! Not only had he taken the time to read my heartfelt story and request for help, he decided to help us reach our goal. My boys are in awe that he helped us, and as a family we are and will be, forever grateful. A tremendously thoughtful and kind act.
I am posting this article because it is not easy to get the help required to gain ones freedom, it is not guaranteed by any means, it shouldn’t be as hard as it is, and for certain I know if kind hearted strangers and amazing true friends had not been moved to help, I would never have been able to surprise my youngest son by picking him up from school the other day.
Thank you to every individual who helped by tweeting, sharing, donating, and supporting us.
Very special thanks to:
Mark & Katie Witherington
Sara & Danny Collins
And lastly to my amazing wife and wonderful children!