This week’s coronavirus column focuses on Dr Emma Fitzgerald, who is currently living with Motor Neurone Disease.

The 41-year-old, who worked as a consultant anaesthetist, was on her way home from work in 2016 when she felt pain in her hand.

She initially thought it was carpal tunnel.

However, as the pain increased she went to hospital where she was told the tragic news that she had MND.

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Her condition quickly deteriorated, and she now is unable to move her body, breathes via a ventilator and requires 24-hour care.

But thanks to the help from friends who live in South Bucks, they organised a fundraiser so that she could travel across the Mediterranean on a cruise.

The fundraiser was launched last year and after a successful yoga class which saw a huge sum of money go towards the cause, it looked like Dr Fitzgerald’s dream was on the verge of coming true.

Bucks Free Press:

A screenshot from the fundraiser

However, due to the ongoing pandemic, this has been halted but donations can still be made for the doctor to go on a journey of a lifetime.

And despite having friends scattered across Beaconsfield, Wycombe and other towns in South Bucks, who have travelled far and wide to help their friend, Dr Fitzgerald currently lives on the South Coast with her mother, Christine, who is her main carer.

READ MORE: House in Beaconsfield hosts charity yoga class for doctor living with Motor Neurone Disease

Speaking about the current situation, Christine said: “Lockdown is an inconvenience for most, but the lack of freedom, choice and control it brings is the everyday reality for millions of disabled people worldwide.

“We are reliant on specialist nurses and carers to ensure 24-hour continual care of Emma, which has been hindered by the pandemic due to care staff shortages and the constant fear that health staff coming into our home might pass something onto Emma.

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“It has been a constant worry for us over the last three months.

“Emma, as a doctor, knows more than most the medical implications that could face her if she caught Covid-19.

“Despite the severity of Emma’s condition, she was not deemed ‘high risk’ by the government.

"Therefore, not being given priority for essential things such as supermarket delivery slots and essential items has meant getting basic food and medical supplies has been very difficult for us.

“Many other MND sufferers are in the same position and it is shocking that they and their families have not been provided with the much-needed support that they need.

“Despite the difficulties that have been faced, we have stayed positive and well connected through the support of our family friends.

“Attending social zoom calls every week and staying connected with our support networks has kept Emma’s spirits high.

“She has always been a high energy, active and ambitious individual, so we have continued various activities throughout lockdown including, gardening and essential house maintenance, including re-designing Emma’s bathroom which she loves to use now.

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“Even though we are still unable to go out, Emma and our family are grateful for the incredible support network we have had around us.

“Lockdown has provided insight into how Emma must feel everyday living with MND, but her resilience and passion for life has ensured that we have kept on going despite the challenges that we have had to face.”

Speaking back in November, one of Emma’s friends, Chrissy Pallenberg, who organised a fundraiser for Dr Fitzgerald in Beaconsfield said: “Her mum Christine is amazing because she sold her house to buy a bungalow for Emma and her wheelchair.

“We’re all trying to help her because we want her to go on this Mediterranean cruise because that’s the only way she can travel now.”

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