Amputee and father of two Mark Toner, from Newry, has had his family life transformed following a stairlift donation from Acorn Stairlifts.
After losing his leg earlier this year following four years of treatment caused by a 16ft fall at work, Mark’s only way of getting upstairs was backwards. His painful disability meant he stayed downstairs all day, making the slow climb back upstairs just once a day, to go to bed.
“I broke 10 bones in my right leg and severely damaged my left when I fell. After ongoing treatment, I finally made the difficult decision to have it amputated,” said Mark, who lives with his wife Margaret and daughters, four-year-old Aimee and Faith, who was born seven weeks premature in April.
“I was so limited with what I could do in the house and after Faith was born, I felt even more helpless - my wife would have to run up and down stairs looking after all three of us. Looking after any new baby is difficult but when you have a premature baby, everything is so much more stressful. I couldn’t support them without any freedom around the house. I knew something had to change.”
Mark contacted Acorn Stairlifts, a Yorkshire-based manufacturer with a well-established Northern Irish installation team, and the people behind his grandad’s stairlift, to arrange a survey.
“I knew I wanted an Acorn stairlift as both the product and the company have my grandad’s seal of approval, but after the visit I realised it was an expense we just couldn’t afford. We’d just had a baby and with so many new priorities and responsibilities, it was simply out of reach. I just broke down and then had to try and put the whole thing out of my mind.”
In desperation, Mark’s wife made a second call to Acorn to try and find an alternative solution. Upon hearing Mark’s story and understanding his plight, Acorn Stairlifts, a multi-award winning British manufacturer, offered to provide and install a stairlift for free.
Company secretary, Dave Belmont, said: “When we spoke in detail to Margaret, we were all deeply moved by their story, no-one should feel trapped within their own home and unable to join in normal family life. Unfortunately, we can’t help everyone, but in this case we were pleased to be able to help ease a difficult situation by donating a stairlift within two working days of speaking to Margaret. We know it will make a huge difference to Mark, to the time he can spend with his daughters and the support he can now give to his wife.”
Mark added: “I’m so appreciative of what Acorn Stairlifts has done for me – for all of us. I feel like I’ve got my freedom and my life back. Being able to go up and down stairs independently has solved so many problems and is already making life a lot easier. I can be much more hands on with my family which is something I was starting to think would never happen. It’s been transformational for us all.