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richard living with disability story

Richard’s story of living with a disability

Find out how we supported Richard after a life-changing accident meant he had to learn to live with a disability.

One evening in July 2000, I dived into my next-door neighbour’s swimming pool, misjudged the dive and hit the bottom. The accident left me paralysed from the neck down. It took me a long time to accept that life was now completely different. Fortunately, I managed to pull through and get on with life. I’ve had a lot of support from Foothold to make that possible.

Coming home from hospital after the accident was terrifying. It was a dark time in my life.

My local village was incredibly supportive and tried to raise funds to buy a wheelchair adapted vehicle for me which is a tough challenge. Living in a small village, taxis aren’t always available, let alone accessible. Foothold stepped in and funded an adapted vehicle for me which was brilliant. Every disability is different — there is no one size fits all. So, having a wheelchair-adapted vehicle is life changing. Without it, I would be stuck.

Finding a new home

Not long after the accident, my marriage broke down and I had to sell my home. The funds I had weren’t enough to get anywhere else to live at the time, and I had no chance of getting a mortgage. Again, Foothold was there to help with funding for a bungalow which has been adapted for me to get around in a wheelchair. It transformed my life, and there’s no way it would’ve happened without Foothold’s support.

This support has given me a life a fulfilled life I would never, ever have otherwise. I’m phenomenally fortunate and Foothold has been a huge part of that. It’s been life-changing, really.

Living a full life with a disability

The extra bit of financial support I get means that I can go out and make friends or have a meal out every now and then, and live quite a normal life. And under the circumstances, one could say a charmed life! For example, I never ever thought I’d go on holiday ever again.

My life turned upside down in many ways, but in other ways I have been so phenomenally fortunate, and Foothold has been a huge part of that.

Coming out of hospital after the accident was scary but it was all about the little steps. When I got my PhD, I wasn’t going to attend the ceremony, as it was set to take place in Swansea. But Foothold organised for me to go — that was my first day away. Thanks to my carer Sue, who is willing to tackle the planning, I’ve travelled to places in the UK and abroad that were beyond my wildest dreams.

If you or someone you care for could use some support coping with a disability, you’re not alone. Our team is ready to listen and help. Get in touch with us now. 





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