Marsha was 17 when I first met her: she was deprived of oxygen during birth resulting in spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. I represented her in a claim against the hospital trust for clinical negligence which was successful; since Marsha had retained capacity to manage her financial affairs she was able to settle her damages in a personal injury trust and I was appointed her professional trustee.
The manner in which a claim for damages is constructed means that there is always pressure on the funds to meet the multiple and complex needs for the individual’s lifetime. However, I was able to supplement the damages by securing statutory funding for care and state benefits. In the claim I had recovered damages to fund the cost of childcare in the event that Marsha had a child. To Marsha’s delight she fell pregnant and was able to carry to term, giving birth to a beautiful daughter.
The compensation was utilised to acquire and adapt a suitable bungalow, to provide a 24 hour care regime, purchase specialist equipment, fund a case manager and therapeutic intervention and to pay for everyday living expenses and holidays for Marsha and her daughter. Throughout Marsha had expert financial advice from a specialist who became a pivotal member of the multi-disciplinary team.
In my first ever discussion with Marsha I asked her what her ambition was: she did not hesitate to announce her aspiration to become a model. That lifetime dream was fulfilled when Marsha “strutted her stuff” on the catwalk at the Royds Withy King Silverlining Fashion Show in November,2017; she reported that this was one of the best day’s of her life, only trumped by the birth of her daughter.
Unexpectedly in her early 40’s, and when her daughter was 12, Marsha died of natural causes whilst visiting her father in the West Indies. Everyone who knew Marsha was deeply saddened by her premature death but her packed funeral was testament to the way that she lived life to the full and never allowed her disability to define her; she was an inspiration to us all.
And the relationship did not end there- as part of life planning Marsha had executed a will creating a trust fund for her daughter, appointing me the trustee; so I now have the privilege of administering a trust for the second generation family member and the duty to ensure that Marsha’s wishes are carried out.