Paralysed Stroke Victim is Third Recipient of Seven Families Campaign
Paul Pickford from Bolton was fit and healthy and ran a car dealership until two years ago. In November 2012 at the age of 42 he suffered a brain stem stroke while at work. He is now paralysed and cared for by his wife Vicky.
Paul explained via his Tobii i-12 eye gaze computer, which speaks whatever he types: “I was taken to hospital where, for a variety of care related reasons, I spent 14 months as an in-patient. I was discharged in January 2014 paralysed from the neck down, nil by mouth and unable to speak.
“Since discharge I undergo daily therapies and, although very slow, there is progress. Due to the slow speed of recovery I had to resign from work but would love to be in a position where a return to work is possible as I have always been a self-confessed workaholic and not working is a major frustration.”
Paul continued: “The money Vicky and I receive and the access Seven Families gives me to experts who can offer advice on returning to work are godsends. I have not been affected cognitively, so if I cannot return to my previous employer the plan is to start some sort of business, although it would have to be something that can be controlled mainly via computer.”
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Mark Dennison, owner of Lightblue UK Ltd said: “The Seven Families campaign has shown what the industry can achieve when it works together. Real people telling their own emotional stories are much more powerful than made up case studies or faceless sales aids. We hope the campaign continues to reach as many people as possible.”
Commenting on the project, Peter Le Beau MBE and spokesperson for the campaign said: “The campaign provides a tax-free income for one year and Paul will receive £2,000 per month. Each family will have access to financial advice from a range of volunteering financial advisers to help with basic finances and budgeting and they will also have the opportunity to benefit from independent living, rehabilitation and counselling services.”
“The campaign aims to highlight the need for people to plan financially in case they become too ill to earn a salary and provide for themselves and their family. It is the first campaign of its kind and it is probably the first time so many major companies and independent experts have worked together for a common purpose and received widespread support for doing so.”
Speaking about the project, Liz Sayce, CEO of Disability Rights UK said: ““DR UK is involved in the Seven Families project because we want to test the difference it can make to get fast, effective support when you unexpectedly become disabled or develop a serious health condition, so you can get your life on track. Our campaign is for improved social security and independent living rights, for everyone – not the 2-tier system we have at present.”
Jason Jaspal from Disability Rights UK also commented: “We campaign constantly for much faster and more effective support when somebody’s life changes through an accident or health condition.
“We hear from people daily who have to wait months for assessments (for Personal Independence Payment), while receiving ineffective or no support to resume work. This project will help us learn how different it can be when people do have resources, information and access to support on their own terms. We plan to draw on this learning to campaign for changes in social security and independent living support, which is in line with our aim to strengthen the voice of disabled people.”