Young Exmouth woman crowdfunding for life-changing wheelchair after being left 'housebound' by chronic illness

PUBLISHED: 12:00 31 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:47 03 April 2018

Bekki Marsh. Picture by Trish Marsh.

Bekki Marsh. Picture by Trish Marsh.

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A young Exmouth woman left 'housebound' by chronic debilitating illnesses is being backed by the community to raise thousands for a life-changing motorised wheelchair.

Bekki Marsh, 25, from Exmouth, lived life to the full until four years ago, when she was diagnosed with a host of debilitating conditions.

After initially being told she had M.E. Bekki was later rediagnosed as suffering from Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (hEDS) & Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTS).

Previously enjoying walks at Woodbury Common and Exmouth beach, sadly Bekki now finds these places inaccessible.

Bekki in her current wheelchair at Porthleven, Cornwall, with dogs Molly and Isla on her lap. Picture by Trish Marsh.Bekki in her current wheelchair at Porthleven, Cornwall, with dogs Molly and Isla on her lap. Picture by Trish Marsh.

But in a bid to reclaim some independence she is fundraising for a £11,000 Trikinetic GTE motorised wheelchair with off-road capabilities.

Bekki said: “My goal is to be able to get out and about with my family and my dogs, to the places I love and have missed so much over the past few years.

“Most of my time is spent housebound; my occasional trips out are limited and I rely on the care of my family for my daily needs.

Bekki (front) with sister in-law Solo, brother Reuben, sister Roseanna and brother in-law Jack (left to right) at her cousin’s wedding, in Fowey, Cornwall. Picture by Trish Marsh, July 2016.Bekki (front) with sister in-law Solo, brother Reuben, sister Roseanna and brother in-law Jack (left to right) at her cousin’s wedding, in Fowey, Cornwall. Picture by Trish Marsh, July 2016.

“My life has been on hold; it often feels like I am watching those around me live theirs while mine has been on pause.”

Bekki’s mum Trish said she was ‘very grateful’ to anyone who supported the ‘getbekkiabout’ campaign and described the ‘heartbreak’ of seeing her daughter’s health deteriorate.

“In the space of six months I watched Bekki go from being a healthy, vibrant and independent young woman, to being a very sick one.

“I want Bekki to have the chance to get some mobility and independence back and be able to feel more like she is taking part in her life,” she said.

Trish said a trial of the GTE gave her fresh hope for the future.

She said: “When she tried out the wheelchair it was like, ‘right, that’s just so good!’ It’s nice to see her just being able to to do something that she hadn’t been able to do.

“We just went for a walk in the New Forest and we hadn’t done that for three years; it’s not going to be a magic spell, but it would make things a lot easier.”

Bekki’s total target is £15,000; this is to cover the cost of the new wheelchair, as well as previous and ongoing medical costs, which in the just the last nine months have cost the family around £2,780.

And others have been getting behind the campaign to reach the ambitious target.

Knobblies Bike Shop, in Exmouth, has dedicated fundraising for its challenging annual charity bike ride ‘The Knobbler’, on April 15, to Bekki’s cause.

Owner Chris Warburton, who regularly cycles with Bekki’s dad Ian, is asking entrants to donate £30 each to her Gofundme page.

The 60km route involves tough climbs and requires a good level of fitness; to find out more visit https://www.knobbliesbikes.co.uk/events/

Another event supporting Bekki’s fundraising efforts is Sidford’s Handmade Spring Fair, on Saturday May 5, at Sidford Social Hall, between 12 and 4pm.

To support Bekki in raeching her ambitious target visit her Gofundme page.

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