Double-amputee left ‘trapped’ in house for months saved by charity
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
A pensioner and double amputee who was left “trapped” in his home for months on end after the NHS refused to give him an electric wheelchair has described his joy after a charity came to his rescue.
Cafer Celebi, 71, who lost both legs to diabetes four years ago, became depressed when his deteriorating condition prevented him from leaving his home without the help of carers.
The retired actor – who has performed with a number of stars, including Oliver Reed – could no longer move around on his prosthetic legs or in his manual wheelchair.
He pleaded with the NHS to be given an electric wheelchair, only to be told he “did not qualify”, but an amputee charity stepped in and arranged for a new chair to be delivered to his door.
Mr Celebi, who lives in Camden Town, said the powered wheelchair had given him a “new lease on life”. “My condition got so bad my carers said I shouldn’t go out on my own any more,” he said. “I became very unhappy.
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“It’s the little things that get you – going out to do my shopping, seeing friends, getting some fresh air. I couldn’t do any of them and I became trapped.
“But this new chair will give me the independence I’ve been searching for.”
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The wheelchair, which is customised to suit his disability, was donated by its supplier, Hewerdine Ltd, to the charity Limbcare, which helps amputees and their families.
The charity was contacted by Mr Celebi’s friend and Wood Green resident Deirdre Beresford after she became concerned by his deteriorating mental condition.
“I could see being trapped in his house was affecting his mind and leaving him more and more depressed,” she said.
“Given his state, you’d have expected the NHS to step in and help.
“Instead, they just said he ‘didn’t qualify’ and refused to give him an electric chair.
“But I am so excited for Cafer now. To see him trying out the chair, you could just see his confidence building by the minute.
“It’s the best Christmas present he could get.”
Limbcare chief executive Ray Edwards, a fellow amputee, said it was “an honour” to help.
“Poor Cafer has been so lonely that it’s just great to be able to help,” he said.
“There are around 90,000 amputees in the UK and when you have an amputation, you will lose some of that independence you took for granted.
“I’m sure there are many people out there going through what Cafer has gone through.”