This month marks the third anniversary of a life-changing partnership between Acorn Stairlifts and Marie Curie, the national charity which provides care and support through terminal illness.
Under the partnership, Acorn supplies and installs up to five stairlifts per month free of charge for Marie Curie patients across the UK.
It enables recipients of the stairlifts to be cared for in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes and surrounded by family members at a time when it means the most to them. This also helps ease the demand for in-patient beds at Marie Curie’s national network of hospices, making them available for patients who need them most.
Referrals for stairlift donations usually come through Marie Curie’s occupational therapists, who are best placed to understand their patients’ needs and identify those who would benefit most. Teams across Marie Curie’s network of nine hospices can put forward requests and in the first three years of the partnership, scores of patients and their families have received free, life-enhancing Acorn stairlifts.
Among the latest is 72-year-old Emily Binks, who was having to crawl upstairs on all fours and in intense pain following an unsuccessful knee replacement operation. Emily receives care from the Marie Curie Hospice in Edinburgh, where her occupational therapist, Kim Pollock, recommended her for a free stairlift under the partnership with Acorn.
Emily was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in 2002, but her difficulties were compounded when a more recent and unsuccessful knee replacement operation left her with severely reduced mobility. It meant she could only get up and down the stairs in her home with help from her husband, Michael, and with considerable difficulty and discomfort.
The team at Marie Curie were able to help with exercises and massages to ease the pain, but crucially they could also call on Acorn to help Emily conquer the stairs. After getting in touch, Acorn’s local surveyor visited Emily’s home to measure up and order her bespoke stairlift, which was fitted a few days later.
Emily, whose life has been transformed by the stairlift, said: “I have no fear going up the stairs now. It’s completely changed our lives. Any worries of falling have been lifted and I have no restrictions on when I can go upstairs.
“Before the stairlift was fitted, I had to face unendurable pain to climb the stairs on all fours and then take one step at a time to get down. My worried husband would have the exhausting task of helping me up the stairs before he left the house – meaning we always had to plan and think ahead. It was so restricting and took away much of our freedom.”
Nick Wilson, a director at Acorn Stairlifts, said: “Stories like Emily’s are the exact reason we partnered with Marie Curie. We aim to change lives by installing up to 60 stairlifts a year for Marie Curie patients. We’re so pleased to be supporting the transformative work already undertaken by Marie Curie.”
Hannah Harding, on behalf of Marie Curie, responded: “We’re thrilled to see what a difference our partnership with Acorn Stairlifts has made for people like Emily. It’s so rewarding to see the relief the stairlifts provide for their loved ones too, and we’re passionate about changing more lives as the partnership with Acorn Stairlifts continues.”
Our picture shows, from the left, Susan Buchanan from the Marie Curie Hospice, Edinburgh, with Acorn Stairlifts installation engineer Luke Gorringe and Marie Curie occupational therapist Kim Pollock.