Weʼre raising £14,000 to help fund the cost of a new, special, powered wheelchair that can accommodate my needs and allow me to continue to work as a doctor.
- Cambridge, UK
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My name is Anna and I have muscular dystrophy. I also have a wonderful family and very good friends. Amidst and because of the obstacles, we have flourished as individuals and as a unit. Having had limited options myself, I have tried to provide my two sons with different opportunities in life and have nurtured an unshakable open-mindedness where my wheelchair is a tool rather than a barrier. However, the elephant in the room, the fact that I live via my wheelchair remains ever-present; it takes me to places, it lifts me which helps me go to the toilet or transfer to bed.
Nonetheless, this is the least I am known for. I am doctor. I work full time as a Psychiatrist at the Cambridge Adult Locality Team. I smile and laugh, I am honest and direct, I am loud, I consider myself to be a good clinician and an empathetic person. If you knew me the last thing that you would notice is that I am in a wheelchair but if you scratch the surface you would see my vulnerabilities; my back hurts, my legs are swollen, I can not walk and I can not stand on my feet for more than a few minutes, I can not lift a glass of water, I can not make myself a coffee or tea, it takes me a very long time to dress myself and I can only wear certain clothes, it takes a great effort and imagination to go to the toilet... I am getting progressively worse, just because this is the nature of my condition. When I bought my current, first, and only wheelchair, 10 years ago I only needed a seat lifting function to be able to stand up and, say, go to the toilet. To achieve the same result I now need a much more sophisticated wheelchair.
Imagine just for a second - it would not take more than that - what my life would be without a wheelchair - I would be bound to bed, that's it.
But I would love to be able to work, and I would love to be able to see my son compete and my other son perform. As I have already said, I am a doctor by qualification, by nature and by heart. I can not emphasize enough how important my job is, both for me and for my patients, of course. I love my job because it is challenging, very interesting and extremely rewarding. I feel useful and complete because I am working and I can not imagine losing this, which will happen if I do not have a wheelchair.
I need a wheelchair to be a doctor, to be me.
You may ask yourself why would a doctor need crowdfunding... Well, I can say a lot about that but I will only divulge my personal story, i hope it does not sound as an excuse... I moved from Bulgaria to UK because, very sadly, Bulgaria is completely not adapted to survive, let alone work, if you are disabled. Integration is a very broad term, in many ways everybody fights for their integration but if you are disabled your fight is on many levels, you think about potential obstacles constantly, this is just for trivial things that everybody takes for granted. Being integrated also bears a cost; starting from adaptations in your home, then a car, then a helper/carer, subscriptions, memberships, maintaining your qualification, training events and so on, non of which I can attend without the help of somebody. On the side, I am the only person with a financial contribution in my family - I have seen my elder son through school and college and am now supporting him through University abroad whilst he is also competing at an international level in diving. My other son, who still lives with me, is a sportsman, an actor and is aspiring to become a doctor. As for myself, I do not need much and I have invested everything I posses in my children and in my job. I do not own a house or a car, I don't eat out, I don't go on holidays but this is my choice and I am not just contained with it, I am more than happy with it. This is why I can not afford to buy a wheelchair and at the same time this is also why I do need a wheelchair.
My wheelchair is an Otto Bock, one of the world's biggest manufacturers. On average, the life expectancy of a wheelchair of this kind is statistically placed at 5 years, after which a replacement is usually recommended. It is 10 years old and has lived a long life, this model is not even manufactured anymore and if something were to go wrong with it I would not be able to repair it, a risk I cannot afford, both financially and physically.
My plea is for your wholehearted support, no matter how big or small.
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Anna Yankova started crowdfunding