A woman who lost her legs after a battle with a rare skin condition is calling on taxi firms to get a move on with round-the-clock cover for the disabled.
Wendy Grant became a double amputee last October, three years after losing her left leg.
Just because I’m in a wheelchair, it doesn’t mean I should miss out.Wendy Grant
The 57-year-old was forced to give up her own hairdressing business when pyoderma gangrenosum, which began as a pinhole wound in 1994, took hold.
The mum-of-two’s lifestyle has been transformed by the illness, but she is determined to ensure her social life does not take a hit.
Wendy, who ran a salon in Lake Avenue, South Shields, has been left struggling to get home after evenings out.
She has managed to use a wheelchair accessible taxi to reach the town centre, but faced difficulties in arranging a vehicle to take her back to her Biddick Hall home because of a lack of cover.
She said it would be too risky for her to be lifted into a passenger or back seat in case she is dropped, which could lead to her fracturing her hips.
As a last resort recently, a pizza delivery man did so using his car, but she was “terrified” and had to be helped by her son with specialist kit to get out of the car when she got home.
She has called on firms to improve and has thanked Boldon-based Green Dot for helping her out recently.
“It’s happened on numerous occasions,” said Wendy, who is mum to Robbie Simpson, 31, and Nikki Lynn, 26.
“I don’t just want to be stuck in the house. I want to get out and see my friends and socialise a bit.
“I just go down to South Shields town centre to the pub, sometimes Hogarths, and it tends to be all right going down.
“Just because I’m in a wheelchair, it doesn’t mean I should miss out.
“It’s a sad situation. What happens if I need to get to hospital at night?
“It does trouble me because I can get about half way through the night and start to worry about getting a taxi home.
“You don’t want to book one in case you want to go home earlier, or if you want to stay out because you’re having a whale of a time.”
Wendy has found some venues go the extra mile to help those with disabilities, but others who refuse to adapt.
She added: “It does get me down.
“I makes me think, ‘yes, I am different from everybody else’ but I try to put on a brave face.
“Thankfully I’m a strong person.”