Bernadette Francois was recently retrenched, and around the same time her motorised wheelchair started packing up, she hopes to buy a new one to get back to work.
Roodepoort, Johannesburg – Bernadette Francois was blessed to be employed by a company ten years ago who embraced her mobility challenges and bought her a motorised wheelchair so she could do her job effectively.
Now, ten years later, she has sadly been retrenched. Her trusty motorised wheelchair decided that now was the time to start acting up, so she has found herself in a predicament. She needs to find a new job but can’t do so without a functional wheelchair. As she is now unemployed, she can’t afford to replace her wheelchair.
Desperate to get back on the job market, Bernadette has turned to crowdfunding so she can provide for her family once again.
“I am a paraplegic and have been for the past 38 years. My condition is called Spinal Muscular Atrophy, which is a rare neuromuscular disorder characterised by loss of motor neurons and progressive muscle wasting. This means that I have limited use of my arms, making it difficult for me to push myself in a manual wheelchair.
Ten years ago, I was blessed to be employed by a company who recognised my challenge and purchased a motorised wheelchair for me. Since then, I have been retrenched, and I am now finding that my wheelchair has become old and problematic (control panel, batteries, etc.).
Although she has served me well and we have been through lots together, I really need to replace her soon before she gives up completely. I do not know how I would ever be able to manage with a manual wheelchair again.”
She hopes to retain her independence, which is why she has asked for assistance. A new motorised wheelchair will allow her to continue living life as she has before.
“Having a motorised wheelchair has given me a freedom that I could never have imagined. It means that I can go out on my own, unassisted. I can actually reach the stove to cook meals for my family. I can go out to work using public transport and not have to rely on people to transport me.
Having the power wheelchair means that I am able to provide for my family and that I am independent.”
She is hoping to raise a total of R50,000 which will not only mean she gets her new wheelchair; it will also help her purchase a special memory foam cushion and other accessories that will make life more manageable again.
“Sadly, the power wheelchair is not affordable for me and many others in similar positions. The cost of a wheelchair is around R32 000 and a memory foam cushion plus other assistive equipment around R10 000. This is where I need your assistance to raise funds for me to remain mobile and be free to be me…”
If you would like to assist Bernadette to reach her goal of independence, you can donate to her fund here.