Peeblesshire News, 01 January, 2018, by Kris Tatum.
A PEEBLES woman has received the ultimate Christmas present – thanks to Peeblesshire News readers.
In October we reported how Phoebe Boag had reached out to locals to raise funds for an electric wheelchair, having been housebound for two years.
The 37-year-old, who was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) in 2015, was told by her GP she was not eligible for NHS help to get the equipment, despite her condition being classed as a disability.
But, thanks to the generosity of our readers, the former charity worker smashed her initial £2,795 target, racking up £3,075.
As we previously reported, Phoebe had just been offered the job opportunity of a lifetime – to live and work at the ‘Penguin Post Office’ in Antarctica for four months – when she became unwell with a set of mysterious symptoms, and had to pull out of the trip.
After being diagnosed and signed off work, she moved back to her hometown of Peebles to be closer to her mum, who helps care for her.
With her new wheelchair delivered earlier this month, Phoebe has been getting to grips with the special gift.
She told us: “The first outing was definitely a success.
“Whizzing along the paths in the park and ending up next to the river was wonderful.
“Without a doubt I was able to travel further than my legs would have safely carried me.
“Having the wheelchair has not cured my ME, and has not suddenly given me more energy, but it will allow me to go outdoors more frequently.
“Each outing in the wheelchair for the next few months will, I imagine, be a learning curve.
“But, the difference it will make to my life, however small it might look to someone else, will be worthwhile, and will without a doubt improve my quality of life.
“Thank you again to the Peeblesshire News readers who made this possible.”
Next month, the Eastgate Theatre will show the Oscar shortlisted documentary Unrest, which tells the story of a Harvard PhD student who is diagnosed with ME.
Phoebe added: “I organised the screening of the film, with a lot of help from my mum and friend Heather, in order to raise awareness of ME in Peebles.
“While not about me personally, it tells my story, and the stories of every other ME sufferer.
“It’s had three successful screenings in Edinburgh so far, two at the Cameo and one at the Odeon.
“Everyone I know who has seen it so far has had their eyes opened. Myself, the patient, and my mum, the carer, will be doing a Q&A after the film. The rest of the panel is to be confirmed.”
To book tickets, visit http://eastgatearts.com/events/unrest/ or call 01721 725 777.