Abi's Story

Abi has been coming to Jacksplace for respite care for over a year.

Abi and Naomi

PIC: Abi & Naomi

You know how it is, sometimes we need some persuasion to try something new, but when we do take the plunge, we wish we had done it sooner.

Abi has become a regular visitor to Jacksplace and she told us:

“During the week leading up to my first stay at Jacksplace I was very anxious as I'd never been to a place for respite before and thought it would take away my independence. I was expecting a clinical set-up with strict bedtimes and wake ups, but what I found was the complete opposite and my anxiety disappeared.” 

Abi was diagnosed at the age of nine with Friedreichs Ataxia which is a genetic degenerative condition affecting the nervous system. The first signs are usually loss of balance and coordination.

Naomi, carer, Abi at Newbury races

PIC: Naomi (left) & Abi enjoying a day at the races!

“At primary school my teachers noticed I couldn't write as fast as the other kids and I kept falling over. I remember one day when my parents and I went to Hengistbury Head for a walk, after a while I said I was tired and refused to go any further. My parents found this unusual as most kids can go on forever.  When I was seven my family and I went on holiday to Greece. We went out on a little speedboat and my dad decided to give my brother the steering wheel. Being a typical teenage boy he decided to do circles. This was clearly a bad idea as I freaked out because my balance and spatial awareness weren’t right. 

“Having Friedreichs Ataxia has limited my day to day life greatly. I started using a wheelchair when I was 14 and as my condition progresses, the amount of things I can do will become fewer and my independence will be reduced. I can no longer get out of bed, shower and dress myself so I have carers who come in at set times every morning and at lunch time to help me with personal care and preparing meals. I also can't drive so rely on my mum or friends to drive me places. My mum works and my friends work away so I'm stuck at home the majority of the time. 

“Between 2008 and 2015 both my brother and my dad passed away leaving just my mum and me. My mum was getting very tired trying to care for me, the house and deal with the recent loss of my dad, and some of my mum’s friends suggested Jacksplace might help. But I wasn't keen. I was offered a place in March 2016 and after much persuasion I reluctantly agreed to give it a try for two nights. 

At Jacksplace I have the opportunity to be the 24 year old girl I am - late nights, (even later mornings) trips to the casino, clubbing etc. I very rarely have these chances at home. Jacksplace has given me my life back.