The following story was sent to the Mamamia team overnight. It was titled ‘one mum’s plea for help’ and when we read it, we instantly wanted to do just that.
Jo, a young single mum to three-year-old Tommy, contracted MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant form of golden staph. This infection invaded her body and eventually attacked her spine, leaving her paralysed from the waist and wheelchair-bound as a T1 paraplegic.
At 1am on the 22nd of February 2015, Jo was air lifted by RACQ Careflight from the Warwick Hospital to the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, to under go life saving surgery to remove a CA-MRSA epidural abscess that was strangling her spinal cord from T3-T10. After the surgery, her doctors informed her that due to the extensive damage all they way down her spinal cord and swelling, she was now a T1 paraplegic and will be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
Surgeons had to do a lumbar laminectomy to remove five bones in her spine because the abscess had turned them septic. She was told due to the severity of the infection, had it been left roughly one hour longer her spinal cord would have been severed at T6 and two hours longer and she wouldn’t have survived.
For the past 4 months she’s been undergoing a gruelling rehabilitation program, but the hardest part is being away from her little boy Tommy.
Initially told she would never walk again, her best-case outlook is she may one day be able to walk an hour or two a day. She will never again have control of her bowel or bladder. Never again will she be able to chase her little boy around the yard.
Being the remarkable young lady she is, with so much strength, courage and determination, Jo has recently taken her first few steps with crutches as an aid – an accomplishment that doctors told her would not be possible, but still faces the reality of being wheelchair bound for the rest of her life.
Jo’s journey will not end when she leaves the spinal ward of the PA hospital. She has to move to a home that is wheelchair accessible. She will have on-going rehabilitation and medical costs for the rest of her life. She needs to keep up physiotherapy sessions and care for her young son while making sure her health is not affected and being able to find funding for all the extra costs involved in this drastic life change.
What Jo really needs is a vehicle. A van big enough for an electric wheelchair and her son’s car seat. Costing for this, plus the hand control conversion will cost $40,000 if not more. Her medical living expenses at the moment (without the cost of food or travel etc) are adding up to be close to $950 a week. For Jo to travel by taxi to and from appointments (one of her rehabilitation appointments is 95kms one way from where she will be living) she will be charged an extra $20 each time because she needs a car seat and to be strapped in. Just going to and from that specialist appointment could cost her up to $440 a day (that’s $45,760 for 6 months in taxi just costs)
Jo and her friends and family are trying to get her story out there and raise funds for a car, and other ongoing medical expenses.
If you’d like to make a difference and donate, please visit her fundraising page.