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Money for Thalidomide victims welcomed

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: December 22, 2012

Louise Medus-Mansell

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EXTRA money for Thalidomide victims has been welcomed by a Cheltenham survivor.

Louise Medus-Mansell welcomed the news, stating the funding is 'better late than never'.

The money will be paid to The Thalidomide Trust in the next decade as an extension to an existing three-year-long pilot grant which is due to finish in March next year.

The announcement of the extra £80 million over the next 10 years was made by care and support minister Norman Lamb on Thursday.

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Louise, 50, from Cheltenham, was born with shortened limbs as a result of the drug.

She said: "It is definitely something that we welcome because the £3 million for three years was not anywhere near to what we were spending because of the extra things that we need to help us with this disability.

"It is very welcome and we thank the Government for it.

"What they have said is that the money will be reviewed every year so if our needs get greater there is a precedent where the figure could be increased. You can't really put a figure on our health but it is welcome.

"It is still 50 years too late for the Government to recognise the fact that we were damaged by one of the drugs that they licensed but at the moment it is better late than never. It will make a huge difference.

"Thalidomiders are very, very conscious that we, as a disability group, are very financially privileged.

"I want to say 'yippee, it's great' but we are very conscious that this sort of scheme should be for all of the disabled."

Between 1958 and 1961, Thalidomide was used by expectant mothers to control symptoms of morning sickness but it led to babies being born physically disabled.

The Government cash will have to be spent on health-related purchases, including medical care.

Louise said she would have liked to have seen the financial commitment made earlier.

She added: "This money is an extension to the health grant that they gave out three years ago.

"The health grant was originally to help us find and pay for extra therapy and to pay for the necessary adaptations in our homes because our bodies are wearing out.

"A study has shown that our bodies are 20 years older than we really are because of how we have had to adapt, like some people having to do everything with their legs, peeling potatoes etc, or people without legs who use their neck more. Our bodies have worn out.

"Because of that we are getting lots of aches and pains because our legs and hips especially are shot and people are getting a lot of back pain."

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