"I became extremely ill in 2009. My immune system began to attack the nerves in my spinal column. I went into hospital and didn't come out for 7 months. During that time I lost all feeling from my ribcage down and was told that I would never walk again.
I am separated from my wife, and my children have grown up. I had my own business, but it was a new enterprise so I had quite a bit of debt to service. You can imagine how alarming it was to suddenly not be able to work. I had to put a stop to the business and now rely on the state pension and some disability allowances. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that as a chartered accountant I could end up broke, but life doesn't always go as you expect it.
For the first 2 years I only had a manual wheelchair, which effectively meant that I was only able to leave the house if a friend would come and get me to push me around. Things got a little better in the third year when I was given an electric wheelchair - that meant I could go out independently if I was going somewhere nearby and the weather was dry.
Unfortunately, that wheelchair was set up incorrectly, which resulted in me developing quite serious bed-sores on my back. It took several years of operations and being in and out of hospitals and nursing homes to deal with that. I wasn't allowed to sit and had to be turned every few hours. It was very isolating. My daughter and her children visited, but I spent a lot of time alone.
I was determined that once I was able to live in my own home again I would get some independence back. Even though I had a motorised wheelchair I couldn't go far, and when it rained I was stuck in the house. So, I began researching vehicles that I could put my wheelchair in and drive myself. Being over 65 meant I wasn't able to get state funding for one. Things were tight financially so I didn't have many options.
It was then that I contacted CABA. They have a wonderful system. You get allocated a Support Officer and you can tell them everything about your situation. Then you deal with that person every time you call, so you don't have to keep saying the same things over. They're terribly efficient.
My Support Officer asked me to submit details of the second-hand vehicle I wanted to buy, and within a very short period of time they agreed to fund it. I was elated - astonished, in fact. It's made an enormous difference to my life. Just recently I was able to go and see a play my grandson was in - I would have had to miss that if CABA hadn't funded the vehicle. It's all the small things like that, that really add another dimension to a person's life."
*Some personal details of this client have been changed to protect their identity
How CABA can help
CABA supports the wellbeing of past and present ICAEW members, ACA students, ICAEW staff members, and their spouses, partners and children up to the age of 25. For advice, information and support please contact us.