Sisters fundraise after wheel falls off reconditioned wheelchair

Tue, Aug 20, 2013, 01:00

A woman whose wheelchair went into a wall after one of its wheels fell off on her way to hospital has launched a fundraising campaign, with her twin sister, in a bid to buy two new electric wheelchairs.

Ann Kennedy, a former artist, and Dr Margaret Kennedy, who campaigns for victims of clerical and institutional abuse, have a neuromuscular degenerative condition and depend on wheelchairs to get around.

The sisters, who are 60 and live in Greystones, Co Wicklow, were given temporary, reconditioned electric wheelchairs by the HSE in spring and told they would receive new wheelchairs once the funds were available.

The sisters claim their wheelchairs are inadequate for their needs and that Ann’s wheelchair is “not fit for purpose”.

Ann said she was on her way to St Vincent’s Hospital for a neurologist’s appointment on July 29th when the left back wheel fell off her wheelchair.

“I shot right into a wall,” said Ann. “It was very distressing. I had to shout at two people in front of me to get their attention and they picked up the wheel and waved down a taxi for me,” said Ann, who also has Crohn’s disease, primary Sjögren’s syndrome and Raynaud’s syndrome.

“I desperately need a new wheelchair. I’m using it everyday at the moment. I don’t think it’s safe. It’s hardly going up a very slight slope,” said Ann who had the wheelchair repaired.

A statement from the HSE said that it did not comment on individual cases.

“All applications for aids and appliances are based on a assessment of need and prioritised within allocated budget,” the statement said.

“All appliances are assessed by an engineer to ensure they are fit for purpose, repaired if necessary, cleaned, decontaminated and made available for reuse.”

The Wheels Appeal: Ann Kennedy or Margaret Kennedy: Ulster Bank, Bray, Co Wicklow. Account number: 11281838 and sort code: 98 53 75