A mum from Leeds whose daughter was left needing 24 hour support after she was struck down by the measles virus is championing a charity that gives carers a vital lifeline.
Jo Walton’s daughter Sarah was attacked by the virus when she was 25 and training to be a midwife.
Nine months later, she was left with a progressive neurological disorder which means she is immobile and only able to communicate through eye and facial movements.
Now Jo, from Boston Spa, is her daughters devoted carer and has spoken of the devastating impact the condition has had on both their lives.
She said: “Sarah was my youngest child and from the moment she was born she was a ray of sunshine. She has always been able to naturally do the right thing and has just naturally drawn people of all ages around her.
“Even now, when she cannot move or communicate verbally, she has a really powerful personality.
“The very least we can do for Sarah is to make sure she has the best care we can give.”
Jo had to take early retirement to care for her daughter and said she was left isolated by the intense, round-the-clock challenge of her new role.
But she hailed the impact of the Carers UK organisation in helping her and thousands of others to cope.
She said: “I don’t want to be in this position. I hate being in this position. I hate the fact that Sarah hasn’t got a life. We don’t have a choice, we have to get on with it. You have to find the strength from somewhere to do it and Carers UK are an invaluable organisation to all carers across the country.”
Jo is one of 6.4 million carers across the UK, including more than 550,000 in the Yorkshire region.
She added: “Life as a carer is filled with the essential activities of everyday life and there is little time left to search for the information needed to make both our lives as efficient and easy as possible, let alone undertake and campaigning on the issues which affect all of us.
“It is so important that carers UK have the resources to continue and expand the work which they do pointing us in the right direction and letting policy makers know the impact of their decisions on those of us who are, without payment, caring for the most vulnerable in society.”
For more information about Carers UK, visit the website at: www.carersuk.org or contact the advice line on 0808 808 7777.