'I feel like everyone who donated is cheering me on and helping me to get better.'
A Donegal-based woman has gained a major lift on her road to recovery from spinal injury, thanks to a team of kind-hearted supporters.
Anita Jackson, 42, has been using a wheelchair for the past two years following a horror fall in Kenya.
But that long and challenging rehabilitation journey has been boosted this week as a successful fundraiser helped Anita buy two pieces of home exercise equipment.
Anita and her partner Manus Gallagher, from Burtonport, were forced to go public with an appeal to raise funds for a leg and arm trainer in March.
It took just a few weeks for Anita’s story to touch the hearts of hundreds of people all over the country, who rushed to help the couple reach their target of €4,400 on GoFundMe. Thanks to almost 200 donators, Anita is now able to do regular training at home.
Anita told Donegal Daily: “I’m really shocked and so appreciative of how nice people can be. Every single person who donated is amazing.
“We bought the Motomed and SkiErg last Friday evening and I’ve been using them this week.”
‘I feel like everyone who donated is cheering me on and helping me to get better. I was really tearful when I saw the fund total go up.’ – Anita
Anita’s life was turned upside down in 2016 when she suffered an incomplete spinal injury in a freak fall on holiday in Mombasa. Some doctors feared that she would never walk again. But the determined woman has found a way to get back on her feet after she and Manus moved from their former home in London to Donegal.
Anita is now making great strides in her physiotherapy with the No Barriers Exoskeleton. She has used the robotic therapy tool to take over 65,000 steps, while she wanted to complement her progress with home training on a Motomed.
However, due to demands in the HSE, she could only have access to this equipment every three months before it went to another patient.
Anita and Manus were inspired to buy the Motomed privately through a GoFundMe campaign, which was a sure success.
The overall total raised was €6,397, and the extra money was used for a skiing exercise machine and physiotherapy sessions.
Anita said: “I’ll get to use the equipment every day now. The fundraiser has given me a huge chance to progress and get my life back.
“Before I had my accident I used to go to the gym a lot. This has made me change a negative experience into a positive one.”
‘It’s given me such a boost of hope.’
And there are more than a few winners from this campaign.
“The other person who used the HSE Motomed must be really happy too because I think they will get to use it full-time now,” Anita said.
Such kindness from friends, family and strangers has given Anita even more encouragement to progress in her rehab.
She said: “I just have to keep the positivity up and make it happen, not just for me but for the people who backed me too. I’m amazed at how loving and helpful people can be.”