Help raise £2,500 to give Rachel her life back

Rachel Stokes is trying to raise enough money for an adapted tricycle. Picture: Ian Burt

Rachel Stokes is trying to raise enough money for an adapted tricycle. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

EDP and Dereham Times readers are today being urged to get behind a fund-raising campaign to help give a young Dereham woman her life back.

The trike that Rachel Stokes is raising money for.

The trike that Rachel Stokes is raising money for. - Credit: Archant

Rachel Stokes, 26, has always had a great passion for the countryside and enjoying an active lifestyle.

But now a combination of serious illnesses has take all of that away from her.

She needs to raise £2,500 by March 17 to buy a recumbent trike which will enable her to enjoy cycling again, get out into the countryside and build up muscle mass to greatly improve her quality of life.

Miss Stokes' condition left her completely bed bound for periods of six months and three months, two years ago.

She now uses an electric wheelchair, splints and crutches to be as independent as possible, but finds her wheelchair only allows her go to built up areas like towns and cities.

Miss Stokes said: 'I love the countryside and I am surrounded by it, but I can't access it. I can only really go to Norwich and Dereham.

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'The countryside is where I feel at home. I've never liked being indoors.'

Miss Stokes, who lives on Elm Street, suffers from rare conditions called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type III (EDS) and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) as well as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Reynaud's Syndrome and ADHD.

These cause parts of her body to be too stretchy and weak and she has frequent dislocations. She suffers pain in mildly cold weather and endures exhaustion and dizziness.

Simply standing up can cause her heart rate to go from 148 to 200 beats per minute.

There is no cure for Miss Stokes' conditions, but ways of managing them and building up muscle mass is key to this.

She said: 'Because I struggle to stand up a lot of the time, it is really difficult to strengthen my muscles.

'This tricycle is designed in a way where I will be able to use it comfortably. It will enable me to get out into the countryside again, to go through the physiotherapy that I need to and to enjoy a hobby that I've always loved. It will be truly life-changing.'

EDS is a genetic condition which Miss Stokes was born with.

But because EDS is so rare, she was only diagnosed with the condition six months ago.

Her condition become more severe about two years ago.

She said: 'I was always in and out of hospital when I was a child but nobody could tell me what was wrong with me. I just thought it was normal illnesses that children have.'

Miss Stokes used to participate in cycling, gymnastics, horse riding and dog agility training.

She used to work at BeWILDerwood adventure park at Hoveton, as a site supervisor, but is currently unable to work.

Miss Stokes said: 'With this trike I will be able to improve so much and hope to go back to work and get back on with my life.'

Her ambition is to go to university and take a degree in animal behaviour and welfare.

People can donate by going to

Due to the rules of Crowdfunding there is a 30-day deadline to reach the target and Miss Stokes needs to raise the £2,500 by March 17.

Are you doing something to raise money for Miss Stokes? E mail

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