Why one Sheffield woman is taking on 80 foot abseil challenge in her wheelchair

A Sheffield woman is taking on an 80 foot abseil challenge in her wheelchair, so two charities can continue the ‘vital work’ that they do.

Friday, 11th September 2020, 10:07 am

Natasha Wilson will be abseiling down Millersdale Viaduct in Derbyshire, on November 7.

She is aiming to raise £1,000, with money being split between Age UK Sheffield and Pets As Therapy.

Natasha said: “The charity sector has suffered enormously.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Being someone who has ‘seen both sides of the coin’, the 26-year-old understands how vital charity work is and wants to help others benefit.

Natasha - who works for Age UK Sheffield as the dementia partnerships officer and wellbeing centre lead - found lockdown particularly difficult.

She explained: “Work is my absolute life. It sent me into a bit of a spiral with my own mental health. It was something I’ve never experienced in my life.”

“12 major operations, family toils, bad decisions and life in a wheelchair didn’t even come close to the fear I had at the prospect of not being able to see my friends, family and wellbeing centre gang for an undefined amount of time.

Natasha with Bette.

“The whole thing honestly made me very, very sad and really quite ill,” she added.

Natasha knew that animals were successful in providing therapy so she thought it was the ‘correct time’ to start looking into getting a pet.

Just over a month ago, she rehomed seven-year-old cocker spaniel, Bette, which Natasha believes has ‘changed my life’.

She said: “The light at the end of the tunnel just happened to be shaped like a cocker spaniel and I think everyone who is struggling with any emotion, pain, anxiety or hardship should be able to have a ‘Bette figure’ in their life, to ease the trials and tribulations with a gentle paw and loving kiss.”

With the centre only just opening back up next week, Natasha believes those with dementia had been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

She told how people had spoken of family members ‘losing their spark’ due to a lack of stimulation and that she hoped it was ‘not too late to reverse’.

During lockdown, Natasha realised that Venture Elements helped those with special needs participate in outdoor adventures.

To donate, see here.

Thank you to all who support local journalism with a digital or print subscription to The Star. The events of 2020 mean trusted, local journalism is more reliant than ever on your support. We couldn't do it without you.

Subscribe here www.thestar.co.uk/subscriptions so we can keep campaigning on your behalf. Stay safe.