Family Raise £38k After Runner Mum Loses Legs To Illness

A MOTHER who was training for a half marathon now faces a lifetime of disability after falling so ill on Christmas Eve surgeons had to amputate her legs and fingers.

Tracy Ralph, 34, was taken to hospital after feeling short of breath. But as her condition worsened she was placed in an induced coma and diagnosed with pneumonia.

She was transferred from Southend Hospital in Essex to St Thomas’ Hospital in London but then suffered complete organ failure, meningitis, septicaemia, blood clots  and bleeding on the brain.

To save her life, both her legs were amputated  below the knee and her fingers were also removed.

She came out of her coma on New Year’s Eve and doctors hope to transfer her back to Southend next week. But she is still at risk from fatal blood clots.

Tracy’s husband Brad, 37, has been at her side throughout the ordeal but kept their children Miller, four, and 19-month-old Hudson away.

When she can at last return to her home in Hawkwell , Essex, she will need expensive  rehabilitation. Her family this week launched an appeal for help that has already raised more than £38,000. Tracy’s sister-in-law Amanda Ralph said: “It’s really humbling, we were up to nearly £18,000 in less than 24 hours.

“We have had people who didn’t even know Tracy contributing and those saying they can’t afford much but giving what they can.

“Every penny will help Tracy and we are so grateful to everyone who has donated. We are raising the money both for her rehab and ultimately for the best prosthetic feet we can buy.”

People in the communityTracy who works for Clarins at Debenhams in Southend, had been training to run the Southend Half Marathon in June with the Essex Ladies Running Club.

A fellow member has now taken her spot and will donate everything she raises to Tracy’s cause.

“Applause for the health service who have fought to save her life and her family and community for showing how much they care. Focus on Disability wishes her well.”

Britain’s Care of the Elderly – In Rapid, Calamitous Decline

Care of the elderly is in a state of “calamitous, quite rapid decline”, a leading charity boss has warned, with hundreds of thousands fewer people receiving care than five years ago.

More than £1bn has been slashed from councils’ social-care budgets in England since 2010, despite an increase in the elderly population, meaning thousands who would have received help with basic tasks such as getting out of bed or taking medication no longer get support, AgeUK said.

Caroline Abrahams, it’s director, said the cuts were also harming the NHS, with hospitals struggling to discharge patients quickly into home or community care – a major factor behind the extreme pressure faced by hospitals this winter.

Elderly CareThe problems of “exit block” leads to delays in admitting patients from emergency departments, because beds are taken up by frail elderly people waiting for a community-care package. It is believed to be a major factor contributing to this winters’ 10-year highs in A&E waiting times.

AgeUK said the number of older people receiving home care has fallen by a third since 2010, while places in day-care centres declined by two-thirds. More than 40 per cent fewer people receive equipment and adaptations such as rails and stairlifts.

Just under 9 per cent  of over-65s – 850,000 people – receive any support from councils, down from well over a million five years ago.

The Department of Health, said that, in total, an extra £1bn had been given to local councils to help to protect social-care services this year, adding that councils were responsible for determining their own budgets.

The Government is to give £25m to 65 councils where delays in discharging elderly patients from hospitals are the most severe.

“The Department of Health puts back £1.1bn into c0unty councils when so much damage has already been done by savage cuts to funding. It’s a bit rich.”