A woman with a rare form of asthma who may never be able to go to a gym again post-Covid is fundraising for a specialist exercise bike that she says could save her life.
Becky Giles has been shielding for almost a year since the pandemic first hit last March.
The 46-year-old, from Heaton, Newcastle, has a rare and life-threatening form of asthma meaning that Covid-19 infection would be “catastrophic”.
Part of Becky’s treatment for asthma involves high doses of steroids, which have caused osteoporosis and ultimately led to a spinal cord injury in 2016, which left her needing a wheelchair.
Before coronavirus lockdowns started, she had been going to a specialist gym where all the equipment was made specifically for use from a wheelchair.
But the pandemic means the gym is closed – and due to Becky’s extremely weakened immune system, her doctor has told her she will probably never be able to go back.
“Covid isn’t going to go away and the risk of exposure is too high,” she said.
“My immune system is so low, even though I’ve had the first dose of the vaccine, there’s no guarantee it’s going to take it up.”
A year of shielding has meant a much more sedentary lifestyle for Becky, which led to her developing DVT and being hospitalised with blood clots on her lungs in October.
She said: “I was extremely poorly – they were talking to my mum about end of life care.
“I’m still feeling the effects from it now, I still get very breathless.”
Becky has now launched an online fundraising campaign so she can buy a MotoMed – a specialist exercise bike that is used directly from a wheelchair.
She said: “It will change my life. I’ve got to find a way to exercise, particularly my lower limbs to reduce the risk of DVT happening again and blood clots – so it could potentially prolong and even save my life.
“It would really help with mental health as well because it’s hard shielding for a year, I’ve got carers who come round but it’s not the same as friends and family.
“I used to go to the gym when I was feeling low and I would feel better. To have that again would be amazing.”
Becky has set a target of £5,750 for a MotoMed hand-cycle, which will cost £4,750, and future servicing costs.
She said: “I’ve been absolutely astounded by people’s generosity so far, it’s been very humbling.”