Mark and Portia's Story

Mark and Portia's photoMark Brightburn is an urban designer who studied architecture in Edinburgh where he met his wife Portia, who was studying Landscape Architecture. Portia found out she had Multiple Sclerosis (MS) just before they married, and a few years later had an epileptic seizure resulting in hospitalisation three times over a six month period. Recovery from this was slow and adaptations to the family home were recommended.

Mark and Portia were not eligible for financial support from their local authority to fund the essential conversion to create accessible ground floor accommodation.  Given the couple did not have these funds in place; they were in a difficult situation.

Mark approached the Architects Benevolent Society, along with the MS Society, for assistance. The Society was immediately able to provide support and went to visit Mark and Portia to talk through their needs.

The caring nature of the ABS Welfare Officer was a welcomed relief

Mark and Portia found the process of applying for financial assistance was quick and enabled the work to proceed without delay. The temporary chaos during the building work soon gave way to joy and delight once the work was complete.

The support from both charities resulted in the essential conversion work being swiftly undertaken which has enabled Portia to be able to do some more of life’s basics with ease and dignity. The simple pleasure of a shower in the morning shouldn’t be taken for granted, and is now appreciated with a new vigour.

With the family home now ‘future proofed’ to a large extent, Mark and Portia are once again enjoying being able to live life and see their three children growing up with relative stability. Mark is hoping to remain in work for as long as possible whilst balancing Portia’s care needs and is currently engaging with the Government as they draft the new Carers’ Strategy in 2016. Portia is undertaking an Art Therapy course with a view to being able to work as an Art Therapist in the future.

 “Thanks to ABS, life is back on track and we are so grateful for the support and proud that our profession has this excellent resource to provide assistance at the moment of need.”


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