Help Turn Ben's Luck and Life Around

For: Ben White
Organizer: Jen Saville
Help Turn Ben's Luck and Life Around (Ben White)
of £35,000 goal
76% Complete
Raised by 566 donors
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

You’d think the hardest part would be getting through 5 months of hospital and rehab, 4 major operations to fix a broken femur, 6 broken ribs, 5 broken vertebra and to stabilise a crushed spine, while coming to terms with being a T10 complete  paraplegic who has no feeling or movement below his belly button.  But it turns out, the hardest part of this journey so far is coming home and being faced with a house that fights you at everything you try to do.

Ben sustained his injuries during a hard parachute landing at Hibaldstow drop zone in July 2014, while training for the skydiving world championships. British Silver medallist in freestyle, just 4 weeks before the competition,  Ben’s life changed forever and his dream was over.  Now he faces challenges he never thought he would have to, struggles that wouldn't even occur to most people as we do things like sit down on a couch and get up again naturally without even thinking about it.  It takes Ben 2 hours to get up and get ready in the morning when it otherwise takes me 30 minutes.  Basic things are obstacles to over come and i just want to help Ben, by making his house wheelchair friendly.  I want him to be able to shower and to cook a meal and to leave the house to get milk without needing my help.

We knew it would be emotionally pretty tough facing the reality that life will never be the same and adjusting to this, but what makes things unbearably difficult is that Ben’s not able to live independently in his own house.  He can’t enter or leave the house without someone else's help, we currently only have a temporary ramp on loan from the Red Cross and I need to put this in and out every time we leave or enter.

Ben currently can’t get up stairs so we have a bed set up downstairs in the living area but this also means he has no access to a shower.  Keeping clean is a struggle and we are resorting to washing from a bowl in the kitchen, where I clean up the water afterwards.  The kitchen is then a whole other problem, when tying to be used for it's proper purpose.  Ben’s basic chair prevents him from being able to get close enough to the bench tops, which are too high anyway.  The oven is too low for him to take anything out of and the stove top too high to see what he is doing.  He can't reach the cupboards above the bench and struggles to even just make a cup of tea, let alone cook any form of meal.

We thought that after 5 months of not having much dignity that when he came home it would be different, home would be his haven, but so far it’s been anything but and this is why we are asking for help.  Ben and I can’t afford to do the renovations he needs, so I'm asking for a little support from anyone who wants to make a big difference to Ben by giving him back the little things in life.

Unfortunately Ben does not quality for a government grant to make essential adaptations to his home, which include wheelchair access to the property, and through floor lift, washing facilities and an accessible kitchen as well as items such as a lightweight wheelchair and other recommended equipment.  We are therefore asking for your support with donations, large or small to help make these adaptations so Ben can live as independently as possible, thank you.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on February 19, 2015

Posted on February 19, 2015

Just over a week to go to buy raffle tickets for what is the most epic raffle prize list I have ever seen.  Tickets £5 each are will be drawn on the 27th February, with all proceeds going to Help Ben White.   

Our generous friends and family have donated some amazing prizes.  For skydivers there are some killer things to be won, like coaching in the sky and wind tunnel in FF, FS and Wingsuiting, as well as Icarus and Vertical clothing to name a few; as well as non skydiving prizes that anyone can win, like:

-        1 night Bed and Breakfast for 2 people At Crowne Plaza Manchester City Centre

-        Tickets to Donnington park Touring car championship

-        Acoustic Guitar

-        Ukulele

-        BigBrainMaths subscription

-        Wine

-        Chocolates

-        Flowers

You could also win a tandem skydive at Langar or Hibaldstow to name but a few of the prize options.

So whether you’re a non skydiver or you jump from planes get your tickets before its too late. They are £5 each and can be purchased by sending your money to:

Roy Castleman 

Good luck, but remember we are doing this to raise vital funds for Ben so he can adapt his house to be wheelchair friendly, so really it’s all a win win regardless! :-)

Posted on January 20, 2015

Posted on January 20, 2015

I’ve had a couple of people ask why Ben isn’t eligible for funding, so I thought I would post a little more information to explain this further. The Government Disability Facilities Grant, which in theory can fund a person up to £35,000 towards essential adaptions, is a means tested grant.  Its is a locally administered scheme, so figures vary depending on county, but as a rough guide, if your combined household earnings are £400 a week, then you have to pay the first £22,000 towards the renovations before the council with contribute anything. The cost that you have to contribute continues to increase significantly for joint incomes higher than this rate.  This is a relatively low earning threshold for such a large deposit required before your can receive assistance and it precludes us from receiving help.

Added to this is the time it takes for anything to be done, as all work needs to be signed off by the council and then delivered by council approved contractors, which can take a lot longer than you would expect.  As an example, Ben is eligible for a small amount of work, up to a £1,000, to be done under the Minor Adaptions Scheme to help get him home.  Basically this means providing a ramp for Ben to access his house.  We have now been dealing with the council for almost 4 months trying to get a ramp built but it’s still not done and currently is still at beginning stages of just getting quotes done.  This means that Ben can’t even leave the house with someone else’s help. Currently, I have to put out a short temporary ramp to the house, which I then have to do a fair bit of manual lifting then directing of Ben and the chair to get it out over the threshold of the door onto the ramp and to stop the chair going too fast down the short slope.

I just don't want Ben to have to live like this, dependant on others, trapped in his own home, not able to shower, struggling to cook a meal etc, so I turned to you all for help.  You can also see now why I set the funding amount to £35,000, as this was the amount available through the scheme.  It is however, becoming increasingly clear that this wont even be enough to do all the required works and purchasing of essential equipment that is needed.  Silly things like realising that all the doorways upstairs are too small to get Ben’s wheelchair through creep up the costs. Though I guess they don’t call becoming a paraplegic a ‘life changing injury’ for nothing!

To finish up, as I know this is a long post, I would just like to say that the government has helped us a lot and provided more then many countries would do.  Ben has had free hospital and rehab care for just over 5 months.  He gets free prescriptions now, which is a blessing, as that alone would cost a fortune if he didn’t.  He will also be able to get a mobility car that is converted to hand controls so that he can have his independence in this regard (once he can get out the front door that is!) and Ben is provided with a basic wheelchair.  The Red Cross have also been amazing and have provided us with simple things like a shower chair, bed extenders to make our bed to the right height to transfer from the wheelchair and the temporary ramp we currently use. He is also proved by a basic wheelchair and while its heavy and awkward and uncomfortable, without having a chair to come home in, Ben would still be in rehab.  I am grateful certainly that the UK is as generous as it is with the healthcare system we have.  It’s just great that we have so many family, friends and strangers yet to be friends who are willing to help us that little bit extra, as it would be a much harder life change for Ben without all your love and support, so thank you very much xx 

Posted on January 19, 2015

Posted on January 19, 2015

Ben wanted me to post a message from him to everyone who has donated: 

"I'm truly overwhelmed and humbled by the support we're receiving. So many family members and friends and acquaintances from different parts of my life, as well so many people I don't know, giving so much towards helping me regain my independence. Thank you all so much. I don't have the words to fully express how much the support means to me."

Ben White 

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