Disabled woman skydives for charity
A woman from Gloucester is planning a skydive. Nothing unusual there - but when you hear that Abbi Wilson is a wheelchair user and jumping out a plane to raise money for a good cause it’s worthy of a bit of nationwide publicity!
The 21-year-old thrill seeker will fall from 10,000 feet out of a plane on September 23 in support of mental health support line SHOUT who helped her through a difficult time.
Wilson will also be raising cash for Gloucester rugby player Ed Slater who has recently been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
She told Gloucester Live: "I suffer from a neurological condition called Functional Neurological Disorder (FND), which means my brain is unable to send and receive the correct signals and messages in order for me to be able to walk. I was diagnosed around three years ago, and spent time in and out of hospital and it impacted my mental health hugely."
Growing up Wilson was a very active teen, but as her condition deteriorated it took a toll on her wellbeing.
"My mental health took a huge turn during this time. I went from being a normal teenager who had a passion for working in care, going to the rugby, swimming, stand up paddle boarding, cycling and volunteering, to wheelchair bound, and it was difficult to process,” she explained.
"In the beginning I had no feeling or movement in my legs meaning I could only use my wheelchair to get around. However with intense neurological physiotherapy in the past year I have started to be able to take a few steps with my crutches at home.
"I also suffer with my mental health, and have a diagnosis of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD). One of the biggest symptoms I experience Is impulsive behaviour and suicidal thoughts, often leading to rather extreme and dangerous behaviours that impact my health greatly."
Wilson has chosen to support SHOUT and Ed Slater’s battle with MND as they are two causes very close to her heart.
She said: "Both of these causes are extra special to me. I grew up with my family supporting rugby, and when I saw Ed Slater had been diagnosed with MND, it inspired me to show others that even with a disability like mine and many others, that if you’re determined enough, you can achieve anything you put your mind to.
"SHOUT crisis line are also special to me because during my darkest times when I felt like giving up and ending my life. They supported me and undoubtedly saved my life on several occasions.”
Wilson, who is aiming to raise £600, knows the skydive will be tough. It takes guts jumping out of a plane, but when you are in a wheelchair it’s even more of a challenge.
She said: "I am fighting my hardest every single day to recover from my mental illness and also to get back to walking properly. I am more determined than ever to give back to those who have helped me fight my battles in my darkest times."
To make a donation to Abbi Wilson’s appeal visit her Justgiving page.