Rachel Thomas, aged 31, has been in hospital since September 2021.
Rachel, from Laughharne in Carmarthenshire, has suffered with poor health for a number of years, but now receives nutrition and fluids via tubes inserted into her stomach and is currently waiting for her leg to be amputated, Wales Online reports.
Even at the moment, it is not possible due to her being too unwell.
In what seems like a previous life to Rachel, who is at Glangwili Hospital, she worked as a practice nurse at Furnace House Doctors Surgery in Carmarthen, but was diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) in 2017, a form of dysautonomia, which is a disorder of the autonomic nervous system.
In short, it means that Rachel needs constant care, and the use of a wheelchair.
Her son, eight-year-old Noah, lives with Rachel’s parents and sees his mother on weekends and every night on FaceTime. Rachel, despite the challenges she faces on a daily basis, wants that to change.
“I’ve always suffered with ill health from a young age, but five years ago my health really deteriorated and I developed a condition called dysautonomia,” said Rachel. “My nervous system doesn’t regulate properly and it affects my bladder and my bowels and I now have intestinal failure. I’m only able to tolerate a little bit of food, so this is going to be a long-term battle.”
Rachel’s dream is to be allowed to live at home with her son and her parents. Thanks to the staff at Glangwili Hospital, she was allowed home for a few stolen hours on Christmas Day to see Noah. She hid in a wrapped box and made his Christmas when, to his surprise and delight, she appeared as if from nowhere.
But for her dream to become a reality she needs to raise around £8,000, most of which would be spent on a special battery pack for her wheelchair which would significantly improve her quality of life and give her what she craves the most: time with her only son.
Rachel knows she will require the use of a wheelchair for the rest of her life, and she has already helped to raise money for staff at Glangwili who she cannot praise enough for the care they provide her with every single day. In 2018 she made it to the top of Pen y Fan in a specialist wheelchair and in 2019 she raised more funds by completing the Cardiff 10k, again in a wheelchair, and even managed a few steps with the help of a friend to cross the finish line.
“The staff on Steffan Ward at the hospital are absolutely incredible – it’s one of the best wards I’ve ever been on,” said Rachel. “Despite the pressures the NHS are under they have been outstanding, and they don’t get enough credit.”
Having completed fundraising challenges herself in the past, it is now Rachel who needs all the help she can get, and her friends have already signed up to do their bit with a RunforRach 5k throughout the month of June, while others are doing a skydive and a marathon, with all proceeds raised going to fund Rachel’s dream of living at home with Noah.
“Unfortunately, the NHS cannot fund everything,” explained Rachel. “I require extensive physical rehabilitation once I get home, multiple times a week. However, the NHS will only be able to offer two sessions on a weekly basis due to the demands of the service. I will need further hospital stays and treatments at various hospitals including Cardiff, Morriston, and Kings Hospital in London.
“I want to be able to take Noah to the park. I want to spend time with him and do things with him all the time. At the moment we rely on everyone else but I just want to be a mum and do what other mums do.”
You can donate towards Rachel’s dream here.
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