Renfrewshire-born Nic is a recipient of ILF Scotland's 2015 Fund.
Nic has a rare condition called hypophosphatemia, which prevents her from absorbing phosphate, an electrolyte that is needed for healthy bones, energy and nerve production. Low levels of phosphate cause bone weakness, fatigue and confusion.
For Nic, the act of sneezing would result in breaking her ribs. As a result of the bone damage to her chest Nic has limited lung capacity and requires a ventilator. She is also a full-time wheelchair user.
The funding support from ILF allows Nic to hire personal assistants who can manage her care needs and in turn, enable Nic to live a more independent life.
For Nic, receiving the ILF was “like night and day”.
“Before receiving the funding, each day I had to make a decision about what I could physically manage - either have a shower or take the bins out. My personal assistants have allowed me to live a more complete, fulfilled life, from making the beds in the morning to taking my daughter to school – small tasks that other people take for granted. The funding has given me more freedom and, crucially, enabled my daughter and I to create happy memories together.”
In addition to providing critical care, the funding has also given Nic a chance to interact with her community and even become involved with charity work.
“I joined the Renfrewshire Access Panel charity and trained to do access audits, which is an assessment of whether buildings are accessible for people with disabilities, whether that be hearing loss, wheelchair use, or sight loss, for example.
"I later joined the drumming group, SheBoom, which the funding enabled me to employ PA to assist me with, where I was able to further my involvement with LGBTQ+ rights and wider social issues. In this I have found a new passion in advocating for others, and attended marches in support of LGBTQ+ rights, anti-racism etc."
Looking forward, Nic plans to use the funding to continue her education and advocacy work. She has enrolled on the University of Glasgow’s Community Services course.
“After I finish the degree course, I want to set up a charity to provide wheelchair and mobility equipment for people who need it most. I believe anyone who needs it should have access to high-quality, fit for purpose mobility equipment. Sometimes I feel guilty because I have a good support package, but there are other people in just as much as need, or even more, who don’t. Receiving quality care shouldn’t have to be a struggle.”
Published in July 2022.
Nic has been interviewed for a blog on this website, entitled "Why more disabled women are needed in leadership positions".