April 19 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, December 5, 2013
A woman diagnosed with two types of arthritis and a rare bone disease has spoken of her determination to help people with disabilities.
Bonnie Collins, 35, has taken up the role of development officer at the Suffolk Coalition of Disabled People.
Mrs Collins, of Trimley St Mary, was involved in an accident at the restaurant where she worked as a senior manager three years ago and as a result of her injuries, her body began to attack itself over time, eventually leaving her unable to walk unaided and in need of care to perform simple, everyday tasks.
She said: “It took about six months for the after-effects to show up – I started getting anaphylactic shocks and my face swelled up.
“I’d been training for the New York Marathon, but I had to stop when I started having problems with my joints. I was told by doctors that I’d developed two types of arthritis and a rare bone disease.
“ Eventually I had trouble walking and couldn’t be left on my own in case I fell. I couldn’t dress myself and had to have help to brush my hair.”
Mrs Collins, whose husband Jacob is a BT senior designer, was advised by medical experts to use a wheelchair and rest wherever possible.
She said: “I refused. I wanted to hold onto my independence and never believed that my situation was hopeless.
“So I steeled myself not to give up, and used my frame as much as I could instead of using the wheelchair.”
Her last consultation in September showed her condition has improved significantly since her diagnosis – and the experts believe that she could, one day, make a full recovery.
She said: “They now don’t believe I have arthritis or the bone disease.
“My recovery might take one year or it might take ten, but I’ve been given a second chance to get back to a normal level of activity which is fantastic.”
She was very keen to take on the role with the Suffolk Coalition of Disabled People.
She said: “After what I’ve been through, I really want to make a difference for future generations of disabled people.
“I want to ensure that everyone has access to the services they need and get the chances they deserve.”