For university student Rebecca Boot independence is one of her top priorities which is why it is so important she is able to use a wheelchair that helps her to get the most out of life.
The 24-year-old has a number of chronic health conditions; Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Postural Tachycardia Syndrome and Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder. This means she is in constant pain and relies on medication, physio and acupuncture to manage this.
Rebecca has used a wheelchair since she was 16 and has been supported by Walsall Wheelchair Service which is being highlighted as part of Occupational health Week.
“I was referred to the service when I was 16 and was given a manual wheelchair,” she explained.
“I was offered a powered wheelchair but psychologically I just wasn’t ready to accept this. While my health conditions are physical they do have an effect mentally too – it can be a lot to get your head round.
“When I was 19 my life changed and my main focus was to be able to go to university. With Postural Tachycardia Syndrome my symptoms include dizziness and light-headedness which only improve if I lie down. The wheelchair I have now is a mid-wheel drive tilt and recline one which means I can alter it accordingly if I feel dizzy.
“My independence is really important to me and the wheelchair I have now means I don’t have to rely on other people, I can please myself and go where I want when I want.”
Rebecca is studying politics and International Relations and attended this year’s Labour Party Conference which is where she noticed a huge difference.
“Last year I wasn’t able to join in with the fringe activities but this year was completely different thanks to my new chair. I got so much more out of it.
“The Wheelchair Service was really helpful. I wasn’t treated like a number or a case, I was treated like a person. The staff took time to get to know me and find out what was important to me. They treat you holistically and take into account what you need to give you the best quality of life.”
Rebecca, who is also founder and treasurer of the Complex Regional Pain Syndrome UK charity, enjoys knitting, crocheting and baking in her spare time.