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Bedbound man was stuck at home for years with his cat - but this woman wasn't going to let that continue

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Bill Starkie had only left his Abergele home for hospital tests

A bedbound man who barely left his home for two years is now "seeing a brand new world" after one of his carers was inspired by his plight to take action.

Bill Starkie, 88, had only left his Abergele home to go for hospital tests, after he was left unable to walk due to various injuries he suffered while riding his beloved motorbike.

The former motorbike mechanic couldn't leave his home as the steps were too difficult for him to manoeuvre, and he only had his cat Bobby for company.

He said: "I have nobody apart from Bobby my cat, and until now the only human beings I saw were my carers.

"I felt like I didn't want to live, but I couldn't do away with myself as I couldn't give Bobby that trauma."

Mr Starkie's plight haunted his carer Vicky Bielby, from Colwyn Bay-based Sea Shells Ltd, and she was determined to do something about it.

The 46-year-old said: "Bill doesn't talk that much. He's a man of few words but, when I eventually discovered he hadn't been out of the house for two years, I was shocked and felt so sad for him."

She managed to get Conwy council to install a ramp, and an electric wheelchair was bought and new doors installed so that Mr Starkie now has access to the outside world.

"I can't thank Vicky enough, or RKS Mobility in Chester and Conwy Council," he said.

"I'm now free to do what I want to do. I'm now seeing a brand new world.

"I love seeing people when I'm out and about. I live near caravan sites and I just like watching what is going on.

"This has changed my life and I feel at peace."

Story by Mari Jones at North Wales News

RKS Acquires Manchester Mobility

RKS Ltd is pleased to announce the acquisition of Manchester Mobility. Ailsa & Bev see this as an exciting opportunity to further enhance their business within the rehabilitation, wheelchair and mobility market. With over 30 years of professional experience and, having
been established for over 11 years as a dealer, RKS Ltd is a leading provider of equipment for disabled people. Manchester Mobility equally has a wealth of experience and knowledge in its owner Dave Gaucas, who began working in the wheelchair industry over 45 years ago and who realised the importance of a bespoke and individual service for his clients. The joining of the two businesses will provide customers with the confidence and knowledge that service excellence will continue with the emphasis on a tailored approach to equipment
provision.

Over the next few months Dave Gaucas of Manchester Mobility will be working with RKS Ltd to make the transition smooth and seamless for all customers, new and existing. The merger will reinforce the existing expertise within both businesses. This is a thrilling prospect for all involved.

Manchester Mobility’s customers will continue to be provided with the high level of service they have been used to and will now be supported by the therapy, engineering and administrative team at RKS Ltd’s base, in Cheshire Oaks Trade Park. RKS Ltd has won numerous awards over the years for excellence in customer service and support. We are the only company nationally to have won a Motability customer service award for the last three consecutive years and continually strive to maintain these high standards.

RKS Ltd will take on responsibility for all servicing, warranty and reassessment needs for existing and new customers of Manchester Mobility and look forward to meeting and working with them. All parts, warranties and new products for Manchester Mobility will now be purchased from the suppliers by RKS Ltd. All parts, warranties and new products for Manchester Mobility will now be purchased from the suppliers by RKS Ltd.

For further information contact Tel: 0151 356 7007 Email: enquiries@rksot.co.uk

Disabled Manchester student Lauren navigates city and university thanks to cool TGA WHILL Powerchair from RKS

Lauren Peers, aged 20 from The Wirral, is revelling in her studies and social life through a new type of contemporary Japanese powered wheelchair supplied by Cheshire's RKS – a TGA WHILL Model C.

Co-owned by Ailsa Reston, OT. RKS Occupational Therapy Services is based in Ellesmere Port. Ailsa's business provides a comprehensive range of services and products to assist elderly and disabled people with independent mobility. Lauren has been an RKS customer for over a year as she has Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and other related conditions. 

Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS) are a group of rare inherited conditions that affect connective tissue and can lead to many symptoms such as joint hypermobility, wide-spread chronic pain and restricted mobility. This means Lauren is a part-time wheelchair user as walking longer distances is very challenging. As her condition has progressed, using a self-propelling wheelchair has become difficult hence she has chosen a TGA WHILL to remain independent around campus and the city. Her pioneering powerchair is like no other mobility device – it is a technologically advanced TGA product with ultra-modern styling and world-leading manoeuvrability.

Lauren has been studying in her first year at the Manchester School of Art. Her WHILL and the support of RKS have been instrumental to Lauren’s ability to study and live student life as best she can: "RKS have been so supportive of me and Ailsa always understands my needs. When using my manual wheelchair was starting to get tough, I revisited RKS to see if they could recommend a powered alternative. The pavements can be terrible in Manchester, uneven and difficult to negotiate. I was regularly having to ask my friends to come and rescue me in town when I had run out of energy, it was terrible, I felt so bad. As soon as I saw the WHILL by TGA I fell in love with it – it's cool, modern and minimal. Ailsa fully assessed whether it would be suitable for me and following her clinical approval, I bought it. I now have the capabilities and peace of mind to travel all day long with an amazing battery range."

"Lauren continues: "I'm lucky that both my halls of residence and studios are only a few years old so access is really good. The Art School at Manchester is very impressive with spacious studios. Access is made even easier with my WHILL as its omni wheels provide such a tight turning circle. I can access my room and en-suite, communal kitchen, corridors and lifts in my halls with no problem. My friends think my powerchair is so cool and they love the remote-control app. This means I can transfer out of my WHILL in lecture theatres or when at the Students Union bar plus park my powerchair out of the way. When I move out of halls next year my student accommodation will not be as accessible but I feel confident that my WHILL will still make life so much better."

Lauren is a fan of live music and when her condition allows, she uses her WHILL Model C to attend local gigs and events. She can't drive however her powerchair can be quickly dismantled by friends and placed in a car boot which is a massive advantage. On arrival, the three lightweight constituent parts are simply clicked together for onward independence. Lauren is able to enjoy the best of Manchester's music scene at venues such as the Albert Hall, Apollo, Manchester Arena and Ritz.

The WHILL by TGA, as supplied by RKS, has been vital to Lauren fulfilling her student experience: "Without my WHILL I'd be lost. I've never owned a powerchair before but I'm pretty sure my WHILL would take some beating. It has so many fantastic features such as the numerical battery display so you know exactly how much power you have left; I can drive all day long with no worries. My friends tend to walk into town so I go with them, I have caught the bus a few times and taken my powerchair on-board. I benefit from quality time with my older brother who is also here at Manchester Uni. When my study workload isn't too much, I love nothing more than going out to bars and venues... Manchester is a great place to be a student, made even better with a WHILL Model C."

Diabetes Week 2019 - See Diabetes Differently

Diabetes Week 2019 logo - 10th June to the 16th June #seediabetesdifferently

Changing Attitudes towards Diabetes

Diabetes is a complicated condition and it can be difficult to fully understand its impact on those who have it. Diabetes Week gets underway on the 10th June and aims to tackle this problem by increasing the public’s understanding of diabetes. 

Every year Diabetes Week brings people together to share their stories, increase awareness and get people talking openly. Talking about the implications of diabetes can often be difficult, for both healthcare professionals and those with the condition. Especially when it comes to complications such as sight loss, foot problems and amputation. 

Major health risk for the United Kingdom

Diabetes is predicted to become a major health crisis for the UK population. The condition can have a major impact on an individual and at an advanced stage, it can lead to various health issues. As a result, it is vitally important that people understand the causes in order to limit the risk of becoming diabetic. The condition currently afflicts more people in the UK than any other serious health condition.

There are two types of Diabetes, but both cause people to have too much sugar in their blood. When sugar enters your blood stream, your pancreas releases insulin in order to get the energy into your cells. However, if you have diabetes, this system does not do its job properly. This can lead to an excess of sugar in your blood, which can have very serious implications.

Diabetes warning signs

In its early stages, there are a few warning signs of diabetes to look out for. Urinating frequently, being very thirsty, feeling more tired than usual, weight loss, yeast infections, blurred vision and cuts taking longer to heal are some of the main symptoms. If you have been suffering from some of these symptoms we recommend making an appointment with your GP.

In addition to raising awareness, Diabetes Week hopes to raise funds for the work carried out by Diabetes UK. Hundreds of events and fundraising activities are already planned for this year so be sure to check them out and get involved.

Get involved

If you have diabetes yourself, know someone who does or simply want to help the cause please go to the the Diabetes UK website for more information (link below).

www.diabetes.org.uk/get_involved/diabetes-week

Why being active this summer could be more important than you think.

Image of someone in a wheelchair enjoying being outside in summer as a friend walks alongside them.

Enjoying the summer sun

Here at RKS we believe that summer is the best time of the year. We absolutely love being outside in the warm weather and we think you should too. Getting out of the house and being more active has an endless list of benefits, both physical and psychological. 

The summer months are a great time to get that heart rate up and enjoy some exercise. Regular exercise is known to have many significant health benefits, these include improving circulation and reducing the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. In addition to this, exercise can have an enormous positive impact on your daily life. Improved stamina, muscle strength and increased flexibility are just some ways exercise can help you carry out day to day activities.

Exercise and mental health

Furthermore, research has shown that exercise is even more important for those with a disability. This is due to the higher risk of obesity and diabetes. As well as the great physical impact of exercise, it is also important for mental health. Evidence has shown that being regularly active can reduce anxiety, promote clearer thinking, decrease the risks of depression and promote better sleep. Although these mental health issues are not exclusive to those with disabilities, it is worth noting that they are more prevalent amongst the disabled population. 

It is important to plan and execute an exercise regime suited to individual needs. Exercise does not have to mean going to the gym, lifting weights or running a marathon. Chair based exercises, focusing on strength and mobility have an equally positive impact on both physical and mental health. We advise starting slow and keeping your goals manageable.

Getting out of the house

Exercise undoubtedly has its benefits, but many people forget that simply being outdoors can give you a massive psychological boost. Getting outside and immersing yourself in nature is a great way to reduce anxiety and depression. However, don’t feel like you have to climb a mountain - spending time in a local park or green space can have the same results. Getting out in the sunshine also has the added benefit of raising Vitamin D levels in the body, which is vital for maintaining healthy bones.

We have a wide range of mobility equipment available in store to help those with disabilities to get out of the house and enjoy the warmer months. Our staff are also here to offer advice on the best options to suit individual needs. We can provide anything from walking sticks to mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs. Whatever you need to help you become more active and independent, we are here for you.

If you have a powered wheelchair or scooter, now is a great time get them serviced and get those batteries checked. This will ensure that they are in great working order for the summer months ahead.