Disabled Haywards Heath woman raises funds for all-terrain wheelchair
A disabled woman from Haywards Heath is trying to raise money for an all-terrain wheelchair to help her reconnect with the Sussex countryside.
Hayley Brown, 33, of Butlers Green Road, said her life was turned upside down when she became ill in early 2018 and was unable to walk.
She was diagnosed with several chronic conditions, including fibromyalgia, erythromelalgia, vestibular migraine, restless legs syndrome and sleep apnoea, as well as breathing difficulties.
“Each of these conditions have their own set of symptoms,” said Hayley, who faces severe pain every day that feels like ‘burning acid’ running down her spine, as well as vertigo and memory loss.
“It feels as if, at some point, my body stopped working properly and everything fell out of sync,” she said.
Hayley lives with her partner and carer Adam, her dog Nova and her cat Salem.
She worked in sales until her illness struck and had previously been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, as well as mental health issues like recurring clinical depression and anxiety.
Hayey said that her passions, which include rambling, foraging, botanical art and nature photography, had helped her with her mental health.
But these were taken away overnight when she became ill, she said.
“Being in nature to me feels like I am home,” said Hayley.
“I am a conservation activist and help so many charities with their efforts, such as Sussex wildlife trust, and I really want to be able to join in,” she added.
Hayley said that the all-terrain wheelchair, a Mountain E-trike, which costs around £7,550, will give her more freedom to be outside in nature again and let her travel over gravel and grass.
It will also make the beach accessible and allow Hayley to move around without her partner pushing her.
“It means that I can start to heal instead of feeling like a prisoner at home,” she said.
Hayley said she would like to explore more of the South Downs because she moved to Sussex in 2017, having moved to the area from Northumberland.
“I fell ill shortly after and haven’t been able to see much of anything that is on our doorstep,” she said.
Hayley also wants to continue her nature photography, and create more botanical art and illustrations.
She has raised about £1,000 of her target already and thanked everyone who has donated so far, as well as her partner Adam.
“Adam is my rock,” she said, adding that he cooks for her, helps her shower, and helps her get to appointments.
Adam also pushes her most places, said Hayley, so an electric wheelchair would ease the pressure on him too.
People can donate to Hayley’s GoFundMe page here.