When I was three years old, I had Polio: an infection most sufferers don’t even know they have.
But I’ve got Post-Polio Syndrome, which means I’ll have to deal with the effects of Polio for the rest of my life.
The most difficult part is that the illness has weakened my muscles. Dealing with the pain was always just a normal part of my life, but when it spread to my hips and ankle, getting around became impossible.
At the beginning, I was really depressed because I couldn’t do anything for myself. I found it hard to come to terms with the fact that I couldn’t walk anymore, so I kept trying to – but every time I did I fell to the ground and hurt myself more.
Eventually, I was moved to a house that could accommodate my mobility needs, and my doctor told me I needed a mobility scooter. We both felt that once I’d settled into my new home and I had a scooter to help me, my depression would improve too.
I dared to feel a little hopeful that things would get better. But then came the crashing disappointment: the scooter cost over £1,000. Even with the allowances I received for living with a disability, I just couldn’t afford it.
National Zakat Foundation was really eager to help me. They asked me some questions about my situation, and once I’d provided my doctor’s reports and recommendations, my application for a hardship grant was accepted.
When NZF called to tell me they were going to pay for my mobility scooter, I was overwhelmed with gratitude and relief. I felt like I’d finally be able to live the life I’d imagined – one where I didn’t have to rely on my family to do everything for me; one where I’d be independent again.
NZF also bought me a washing machine, which I desperately needed to help manage my personal care. And when they saw my new house was in a poor condition, they bought me two new carpets so I could spend my disability allowance on essential living costs instead.
The wonderful thing about NZF is that they went above and beyond what I expected of them. I felt ashamed to ask for all the help I needed, so I didn’t. But NZF didn’t wait for me to ask. They assessed my situation and identified a number of ways to support me.
The result was immediate. Their support increased my quality of life dramatically and, because of that, I became a happier person. I was able to manage my depression and, for the first time in years, I could see that I had a bright future ahead of me.
Today, I no longer feel like I’m a burden to everyone around me, and I’m confident enough to start planning a future that doesn’t involve carers or long-term support.
NZF gave me back my life – and for that, I’ll always be grateful.
The National Zakat Foundation uses Zakat to support individuals in a transformative way, so they can be self-sufficient. Stay up-to-date with all our latest insights, stories, research and news – subscribe here for our monthly newsletter.
National Zakat Hotline: 03333 123 123 (Monday – Friday, 10am – 6pm, local rates) or apply online apply.nzf.org.uk
This post is based on a true story.