SOS for Sunderland mum stuck sleeping in kitchen

Disabled June Finlay, with husband Joihn and daughter Heather, of Leeholme, Houghton, who are to feature in BBC's DIY SOS Big Build programme.
Disabled June Finlay, with husband Joihn and daughter Heather, of Leeholme, Houghton, who are to feature in BBC's DIY SOS Big Build programme.
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AN SOS call has been made to help change the life of a housebound mum.

June Finlay, 64, can barely talk, walk or use her hands after she developed a rare disease.

The condition, Clippers, which causes an inflammation on the brain, was diagnosed after the mum-of-one was admitted to Sunderland Royal Hospital with pneumonia in 2009.

The former Post Office worker’s health deteriorated so much doctors suspected she had suffered a stroke.

A brain biopsy at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, then revealed the life-threatening disease.

“She went from being this fit, well woman,” said husband John, 69. “She just got worse and worse.”

June, mum to Heather, 28, was given six chemotherapy sessions to reduce the inflammation.

Afterwards, doctors said she would never walk or speak again.

The crushing diagnosis was given only months after John, a former electrician, retired.

“Our lives were turned completely upside down,” he said. “They said she would never walk again.

“But, I’ve persevered and given her some form of physiotherapy myself.

“We go to the swimming baths and she is walking in the water. She can stand in the house, and she can communicate.”

John is hoping to organise professional physiotherapy for June, whose recovery has been restricted because the couple’s home, in Houghton, isn’t designed for disabled care.

She sleeps in a hospital bed in the kitchen, as well as bathing there, and goes to the toilet on a commode in the living room.

John, who had a heart attack when he was 45, has to move furniture to move her wheelchair in and out of the house.

Now, to the delight of the couple, they are to receive the help they are so desperate for.

BBC One TV show DIY SOS: The Big Build, presented by Nick Knowles, will begin work to develop their home into the disabled friendly house June needs.

The “amazing” news is thanks to Heather, who sent three application forms to producers before they announced work will begin on October 15.

“June is finally getting the helps she deserves.” said John. “It will make a huge difference to us and really help her recovery if we can live comfortably.

“We are so grateful to the show, and to Heather.”

The pair are hoping a downstairs wet room will be fitted so June and wash in private and for a downstairs bedroom to be built so she doesn’t have to sleep in the kitchen.

“It’s not right the way she is living at the moment,” said John. “Hopefully this will give her the quality of life she deserves.

“We can’t believe it. We watch the programme, so it’s surreal.”

“We can’t wait for them to get started.”

How to help

DIY SOS: The Big Build, are looking for people to help out on the show.

Any traders – plasters, plumbers, and electricians, to name a few – who can pitch in with the build are asked to get in touch.

A spokeswoman for the BBC, said: “We are really hoping the people of Sunderland will be able to support us in this worthwhile project and give this family the home they desperately need.

“If you’re a trade and you’d like to get involved or a local business that can help with materials we would love to hear from you.

“We’re looking for help from October 15, and we will be handing the finished house back to the family on October 24.”

You can get in touch via or call 01179747988.