Caerphilly community rallies around paralysed woman diagnosed with rare neurological condition

  • Video report by ITV Wales reporter Kate Lewis

A woman from Gelligaer who became paralysed earlier this year says she is overwhelmed by the response from the local community, who have been fundraising to make adaptations to her home.

Jess Ennis lost the ability to walk whilst having a bath, just days after her 30th birthday.

After months of tests and examinations, the mother-of-two was diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder (FND).

Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) is a sudden condition which causes problems with how the brain receives and sends information to the body.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes around four to 12 people in every 100,000 will get FND.

FND can cause serious arm and leg weaknesses, as well as seizures.

Orange bows have been tied to lamp posts and cars in support of Jess.

"I still feel like the luckiest woman in the world because I've still got everyone and everything, but I've just lost my ability," Jess said.

"It hasn't changed the person I am - it definitely hasn't. It's just made things a little bit harder."

Money raised will go towards making Jess' house accessible for her wheelchair.

Jess has now spent four months in hospital and her local community are raising vital funds to make changes to her house to allow her to return home.

From skydives to climbing mountains, members of the community have been raising money through whatever means they can.

The local fish bar has been selling bows and key rings to help fund the adaptions to Jess' home.

The local rag and bone man, Jamie Faulkner, has never met Jess, but feels compelled to help. He's been encouraging his colleagues and friends to 'sponsor a brick' to help make adaptations to Jess' home.

"It's a big build, so we had some forms made up," he said. "A pound a brick and just got into local business and the locals. It's just taken off."

At the local chip shop, Cascade Fish Bar, the owner Claire Bane has also been fundraising. They've sold bows and key rings, as well as organising a raffle.

FND can cause serious arm and leg weaknesses, as well as seizures.

"It's going really well. Everyone's been so brilliant, donating. We've sold lots of bows, we've done £400 raffles, we've got key rings," Claire said.

Jess says she lives in a community where, if something goes wrong, they pull together. Reflecting on the support her community has provided, she said: "I'll never be able to thank them enough."

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