Stairlift ‘leg up’ is a real tweet for South Yorkshire family

Tracey Higginbottom, 37, with husband John Higginbottom, 44, and daughter Charlotte Higginbottom, 11''''rossparry.co.uk/Harry Whitehead
Tracey Higginbottom, 37, with husband John Higginbottom, 44, and daughter Charlotte Higginbottom, 11''''rossparry.co.uk/Harry Whitehead

A South Yorkshire mum and daughter who have the same rare condition have been given a free stairlift after they tweeted for help.

Tracey Higginbottom and her 11-year-old daughter, Charlotte, struggled to get around their three-storey home due to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, or EDS, which restricts their movement and causes chronic fatigue.

Tracey, aged 37, hadn’t been able to sit in her back garden for three years, while Charlotte had to be carried to bed every night by her dad, John, who was already suffering from two hernias from straining himself.

Former nurse Tracey, of Blacker Hill, Barnsley, said: “Life changed so much when I was diagnosed with EDS. I had to fully retire from my much-loved job and suddenly I was confined to one floor of my house.

“To help with chores and care my mother moved in and at 70 years old, I never expected her to be the one looking after me – as well as my loving husband John.”

However, while watching the Channel 4 show The Last Leg, which focuses on disabled rights, Tracey tweeted about the family’s difficulties. Soon after, West Yorkshire-based firm Acorn Stairlifts got in touch and offered a stairlift free of charge within 24 hours.

Tracey said: “I use Twitter to engage with other EDS sufferers and to pass the time at home but I never expected what happened next, I’m still in shock about it.

“We spend so much time being cared for at home but we were only using a third of our house.

“I thought it took weeks to get a stairlift, I never expected this to happen so easily and quickly.”

Tracey’s husband John, aged 44, said: “Charlotte is getting too tall to carry and I already was suffering from two hernias from straining myself. It was agony to carry her and I knew there was fast approaching a time where I could no longer do it.

“Charlotte now has her own bedroom that will see her into adulthood, it has taken the pressure off me and the whole family feels like they have had a lift. Words cannot express how this has transformed our lives.”

Dave Belmont, Acorn Stairlifts company secretary, said the firm was delighted to help.

He said: “Although we can’t donate a lift to every enquiry we receive we are happy we made such a difference for them.”