Case Study

Kim’s Second Chance… “I’m so excited for the day I can start driving again”

Kim Smith, 61, from Milton Keynes tells us her story. In 2017 due to sepsis caused by a UTI, Kim lost all four limbs. Regaining independence, Kim is currently awaiting delivery of her Sirus VW Drive From Wheelchair/Upfront Passenger Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle and with the help of Sirus and Motability Grants, will be back behind the wheel in 2023.

“During a holiday in Spain in 2017 I had a urine infection that developed into sepsis. I spent nine weeks in a coma, six of which were in Spain followed by three weeks in my local hospital after my travel insurance company flew me home. I was then transferred to Bedford Hospital and due to the severity of the sepsis I had to have four limbs amputated. Finally, my last seven weeks were at Queen Mary’s rehabilitation hospital in Roehampton. I was in hospital for a total of eight months.


Getting back behind the wheel

Currently I am travelling in a WAV where I sit in the back. It is really difficult for me to hear what people are saying in the front so communicating is hard. It also makes me travel sick. Whilst out walking someone said to me, ‘you know you can drive?’ They told me about converted vehicles with various hand controls.

Motability assessment

I enquired with Motability and also contacted Motability Grants. Once I knew I was eligible for financial support from Motability Grants, their assessor came to my home accompanied by Sirus. They demonstrated the Sirus VW Drive From Wheelchair/Upfront Passenger vehicle, it was amazing! Getting in the vehicle was so easy but sitting in the drivers position was such a wonderful feeling and I’m so excited for that day I can start driving again. The Sirus conversion is phenomenal… I hadn’t realised it was even possible!

High tech hand controls

I will be able to drive using Space Drive, high tech driving controls designed to allow a person of little strength or minimum movement to drive a vehicle. You can activate the brake, accelerator, steering wheel and the rest of the car using driving aids controlled by microprocessors. My driving controls will be fitted to the Sirus WAV by PB Conversions.

Travelling upfront

When i’m not driving I can switch to the upfront passenger position in the Sirus VW Drive/Upfront, which will be wonderful as my husband can drive and I can sit next to him.  We are hoping to fit an automatic wheelchair locking system in the passenger position to make life a little easier for him. I am currently fundraising for this adaptation – read more on my Just Giving page.


Double hand transplant

I’m excited about getting my independence back, because not only am I getting a Sirus WAV, I’m also waiting to have a double hand transplant too!! When I thought I’d like to be considered I asked my GP to refer me to Leeds General Infirmary (LGI). I had to wait a while and because of covid-19 a lot was done online to begin with. I had lots of blood tests, meetings with a very large team, appointments with a physiatrist which took just over a year before I was approved in January 2022. I am currently waiting for a donor match.

UK Sepsis Trust

I literally cannot wait for my Drive From Wheelchair vehicle, I want to get my independence back  so I can go out on the road and raise awareness for the UK Sepsis Trust giving talks and telling my story of how I lost all four limbs from a UTI that developed into sepsis. It’s vital everyone learns the symptoms to save their life.

The UK Sepsis Trust supported my family whilst I was in hospital and so now I volunteer for them I do everything I can every day to raise awareness of sepsis and the symptoms, which include;

  • Slurred speech or confusion
  • Extreme shivering or muscle pain
  • Passing no urine in a day
  • Severe breathlessness
  • Skin mottled or discoloured

For more information visit

Steel Bones

I also volunteer for another charity called Steel Bones which is for amputees. They’ve been a huge support to me since I became an amputee. I am a family mentor to help new amputees come to terms with their amputation, supporting them with anything they need from just a chat to benefits, housing and more.


Recently I became an Ambassador for AccessAble. I was really happy to be invited to join them, as a disabled person in a wheelchair I find it hard going places because so many venues are not wheelchair accessible. Their app is fantastic for helping me get around and know in advance if somewhere is suitable for my trip.

I cannot wait to get my independence back and I really didn’t expect to be able to drive again!”

Follow Kim on social media 





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