June 26, 2019 4.55 pm This story is over 28 months old

‘Life of hell’ drives disabled Lincoln woman to depression

She said tearily: “The dog has more dignity than me”

A disabled Lincoln woman, who lives on a mattress in her family’s living room, has to use an ice cream tub as a toilet and bathes in a paddling pool, has made a desperate appeal for help.

Katie Rawson, 31, has cerebral palsy and struggles to move. She breaks down in tears as she tells a reporter her dog has more dignity than she does.

Her family invited The Lincolnite to their four-bedroom council house in the Boultham area of the city and said “you have to see how she lives to believe it.”

Katie says she has no social life. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Most of Katie’s days consist of sitting or laying down on a mattress while listening to music or playing on her tablet.

Currently she is only entitled seven hours of care throughout the week, so relies heavily on her family and fiancé Jonathan Harley, who also suffers with health problems, for help.

“It is really scary because I know my mum won’t be around forever to look after us both,” Katie says while looking over to her worried mother Sandie France.

Katie’s mother Sandie tries to help her with everything she needs. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

“My whole life has got a big question mark over it. I have depression, anxiety and have felt like ending my life several times.

“This has been an ongoing battle and I think that it will be like this for a long time to come. I just cannot imagine spending however many years of life I’ve got like this.”

The ongoing battle Katie is referring to is one with the City of Lincoln Council planning team.

When Katie was forced to move back home, her mother Sandie applied for permission to build an extension in their garden for a wet room.

It takes three hours to have a bath. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Sandie, 62, said that the family home needs a lot of work to make it suitable for her daughter’s needs.

“It is really hard for us but we just try and get through it from day to day. We were told to wait for an architect to have a look at the garden but it never happened.

“Later that year I got in touch with the council again. They said that we wouldn’t be able to get the extension and denied saying they would in the first place.

“They (Katie and Jonathan) were put on a waiting list for a bungalow three years ago by the council and said that a ‘care package’ would be put in place. But the council wouldn’t elaborate on what that would be or when it would even be put in place. It’s like being told to drive into thick fog.”

They want to build a wet room in the garden. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The City of Lincoln Council said that they were committed to working with the family.

Yvonne Fox, assistant director of housing, said: “We very much sympathise with Mrs France’s current situation and are assisting her with the issue.

“We have offered to adapt one of our newly built properties by installing a custom made downstairs bathroom and a further bedroom which would meet the family’s requirements, but this offer has been declined.

Katie Rawson with her fiancé Jonathan Harley. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

“We made the decision to offer alternative accommodation as the current property is unsuitable for the family’s long-term needs.

“However, we are committed to continue working with Mrs France and her family to assist them in finding a new property that will provide them with all the appropriate facilities the family needs.”

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