A young woman has ten thousand reasons to say thank you to the people of South Tyneside after they helped her retain her independence.
Jessica Thompson has spent most of her life battling a range of debilitating conditions - including repeated dislocations of various joints in her body up to 15 times a day.
The 21-year-old had refused to let her health problems stop her from living her life, but as the condition worsened she felt her independence slipping away.
A fundraising appeal and the generosity of South Tyneside residents and businesses - including a donation of £5,000 from an anonymous benefactor - saw Jessica raise the £10,000 she needed and have a specialist wheelchair and suit.
Jessica, from Lincoln Road, South Shields, said: “The wheelchair has changed my life in the short time I’ve had it. It is much more comfortable as I’m fully supported in my chair.
“When I go shopping with my family or friends I’m able to go to the counter, raise my chair up and pay for my shopping myself.”
Thank you to everyone who helped raise the money for this life changing equipmentJessica Thompson
Jessica fights a daily battle against the conditions - Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (PoTS) and gastroparesi.
She added: “The orthotics suit - funded by Green Energy Advice Bureau - is amazing too, I haven’t had it for very long but it’s already helping me. My dislocations in my wrist have stopped through the day and I’m able to complete about 20 minutes of physio when I’m wearing it.
“It’s amazing. I used to dislocate a few times during physio sessions. It’s a long process as I’m only able to wear the garments for short periods at the moment but I’m hoping with in the next 12 months to see more improvements.
“This is only the beginning and I know both the wheelchair and orthotics suit is going to continue to improve my life and help me regain some of my independence.
“Thank you to everyone who helped raise the money for this life changing equipment”
Her mam Julie said: “We would just like to say a massive thank you to everyone who helped, but especially to Angela Moore and Michelle Johnson who arranged a fundraising night and to Gordon Finch and the Freemasons who donated the first amount to start the ball rolling with a £200 cheque and for contacting the Gazette to see if they could help which they have immensely.
“Special thanks also to Barbour Foundation, Village Travel, Sarah Shaw, Community Corner, Asda, The Customs House and all of the local companies and individuals for the fantastic prizes.
“This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our wonderful community.”