Emma Dolan Horlock endured years of pain and misery after being bitten by a tick for the first time and contracting Lyme disease.
That was 10 years ago, but Emma – who lives near Sefton Park in Liverpool – suffered serious complications from that bite and a host of debilitating and potentially fatal conditions that left her stranded in bed in over the past six years.
Emma, 46, was devastated when told during the pandemic that her desperately needed NHS treatment would be delayed for another 16 to 18 months, so with the support of friends and family, she launched a crowdfunding campaign in March this year, raising a whopping £ 35,000 in just a few weeks.
The fund was created specifically to pay for a specialist stretcher and private rehabilitation treatment to ensure she would be in the best possible condition to benefit from the NHS rehabilitation program when she is finally reassigned.
Having been unable to work for many years, Emma has exhausted her savings and relies on Universal Credit for her living expenses. She also receives personal independence payments which she uses to pay for her daily care.
She first transferred the collected funds to her own account so that she could pay for her stretcher and make the necessary reservations and processing payments.
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She informed the Department of Work and Pensions of the situation and had several canceled appointments – only to find that her universal credit had been cut short while in hospital.
She appealed, but it was rejected and her claim was stopped.
Emma was devastated by the decision.
She said: “I’ve taken a lot of punches over the past 10 years and had to swallow my pride more chances than I can remember.
“This DWP decision is by far the most monumental blow to date and feels like the cruelest blow.
“I live in a horizontal world and my only outings are in hospitals. I’m desperately trying to help myself get to the point where I can live a more fulfilling life than staring at a ceiling all day.
“This treatment could potentially put me upright enough to be in a wheelchair, which would literally change my world physically and mentally and put me in a good position to benefit from an NHS rehabilitation program as soon as it becomes available.
The 46-year-old said she would never spend a single penny of the money people raised for her for the cost of living because that’s not the reason they donated.
She added: “It would be immoral and that is not why people gave their hard earned money.
“I’m really devastated and feel like I’m lost in a system that doesn’t care.
“The pandemic has been tough on everyone, but lying on your back 24 hours a day for over a year with extremely limited access to visitors has been really, really tough. I really think if the DWP doesn’t reassess my status it will take away any hope I have of giving me a chance at rehabilitation. I cannot describe the slaughter of helplessness or hopelessness that I feel today. ”
Emma has now appealed the DWP’s decision to stop her benefits and is helped by social lawyer Steven Lunt from Astraea Legal.
Steven said: “We will work tirelessly at Astraea Legal to assist Emma in her challenge with the DWP’s HM Courts and Tribunal Service and hope that the right conclusion in this painful case will prevail.
“This is a total injustice and potentially damaging to Emma’s failing health, causing her to significantly deteriorate her mental health due to financial restrictions and potential possession procedures that would leave Emma homeless.” statutory “
After ECHO approached the Department for Work and Pensions yesterday, Emma said she had been contacted by an employee at a local employment center to remedy the situation.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Work and Pensions said: “Our Merseyside team are helping Ms. Horlock take the necessary steps to reopen her application and support her during this difficult time. In the meantime, she receives the highest personal independence payments. ”
To contribute to Emma’s crowdfunding campaign, click here