Friends rally round Hornchurch mum in mobility struggle

PUBLISHED: 10:30 05 January 2017 | UPDATED: 10:30 05 January 2017

Catherine Manning in Westminster with Hornchurch and Upminster MP Angela Watkinson

Catherine Manning in Westminster with Hornchurch and Upminster MP Angela Watkinson


A wheelchair-user suffering from arthritis is calling on the support of the community to help her regain her independence.

Catherine Manning, 36, of Newmarket Way, Hornchurch, was just 12 when she discovered she had rheumatoid arthritis and went on to be further diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hypermobilty) and fibromyalgia, which severely limited her mobility.

Catherine, who has twice been invited to speak at the Houses of Parliament on behalf of Arthritis UK, soon realised her condition separated her from other children.

“As a teenager it was very hard. I was taken out of classes and it puts a wall between you and your peer group,” she said.

“Going through school being different was the hardest thing I have had to do, but it’s made me a stronger person.”

Despite her tough time as a teenager, Catherine went on to work as a risk and compliance manager and became a Beaver Scouts leader – both of which she has had to give up due to her worsening condition.

“I’ve unfortunately stepped back because of pain and fatigue and being on crutches is not safe for children,” she said.

“In the past four years I’ve lost my job as well [due to] the amount of hospital appointments.

“It made me feel worthless because I’ve always worked and need to be able to have that interaction with the outside world and provide for the family.”

In light of Catherine’s situation, some of her friends have set up an online donation page to raise money to pay for a power addition to her wheelchair.

She said: “Hopefully it means I can be out and about and go places with the family.

“It will be safe for me to move about and it reduces the pain – it is about getting some independence back and being a mum again.”

If you’d like to donate to Catherine’s cause click this link.

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