Former soldier from West Norfolk shares hopes to crowdfund for new electric wheelchair
A ex-soldier from Snettisham is hoping to raise £3,000 for an electric wheelchair which would improve his quality of life.
Mike Sherwood, 39, was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in 2015, and says a new wheelchair would allow him to be more independent.
He is currently restricted in where he can go and when, as he has to be pushed by others when using his standard wheelchair, and his mobility scooter is too big to fit in his car for trips out with his family.
Mike said: “Due to my mobility issues, I am unable to walk any sort of distance and require a wheelchair, but I’m a big bloke – 6ft 4ins and 25 stone – and my wife suffers badly from asthma which means she can’t push me for very long.”
He added: “Unfortunately due to the pain in my joints and muscles I am unable to self-propel myself very far at all before the pain in my arms and shoulders gets too much.”
Mike, who served with the Royal Engineers for eight years, was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in October 2015, just after his birthday and just before he and his wife Nicola got married.
He said the first year of treatment was “not too bad”, although there were some issues with the bone marrow procedure which caused him to be in a lot of pain as well as severe bruising.
But at this stage, he continued to run his own maintenance business until the end of 2016, when he started a new job as a maintenance manager for a hotel and restaurant.
By early 2017, his body had become tolerant to the medication and his chemotherapy medication was changed.
“Unfortunately within three weeks I was off work, because the side effects were so severe,” Mike said.
“I was suffering with severe fatigue and starting to get issues with my mobility.”
He was not able to return to work and was soon having to use a wheelchair to travel any sort of distance.
“We have now had to move out of our four bedroom house with our boys into a two bed bungalow as I am just unable to manage stairs anymore,” he added.
“I am now on a chemo med called Bosutinib which doesn’t seem to make things any worse with regards to my mobility, but I don’t think it will ever get any better.”
Mike has received help from the Royal British Legion who provided him with a mobility scooter.
While he is grateful for this, as it allows him to get around the village, it is “way too big” to fit in the car for a day out with his family.
“Having the electric wheelchair that can fit in the boot of the car means we could do more things together as a family but also on my own, which would enable me to go to town on the bus or, when in town, just be able to go do things on my own,” Mike said.
He has now launched a crowdfunding appeal on JustGiving to raise £3,000 to pay for the electric wheelchair.
“I have looked around at different types of chair that will fit and be strong enough to take my weight,” Mike said.
“The only one I have been able to find is £2,997.60 including VAT and due to me being unable to work there is no way we could raise that sort of money without help.”
To donate to the crowdfunding appeal, go to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/need-some-electric-wheels.