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'I Struggle With My Manual Wheelchair'

Updated: May 31, 2022

...and was desperate for there to be something else out there

I know this is a strong statement to make, but I remember the day that the staff at Stoke Mandeville spinal rehabilitation unit announced that my 'forever chair' was arriving. They approached it with an air of celebration and I felt like I was supposed to whoop with joy in response. However I felt like my heart was being crushed in a vice. Until my accident, my identity had spun around my physicality and strength and I lived for being outdoors. The presentation of my 'forever' wheelchair was a huge realisation that everything had changed.

While days at Stoke Mandeville were spent doing physio in the gym and perfecting wheelchair skills with the formidable Olivia Sklenar, my nights were spent searching the internet for an answer to my devastation at being committed to life in a wheelchair. I Googled 'futuristic wheelchairs' which turned up a few truly terrifying ideas, but then I came across the Omeo. I think my outlook on my new life changed instantly! Unlike so many mobility devices or vehicles it looked COOL! It made me want to have a go and I felt excited for the first time since my accident.

Soon my incredible friends and family could see how important the idea of having an Omeo had become to me (not sure I spoke about anything else!) and they incredibly organised fundraising for me. I can't tell you how grateful I will always be to the people that came together and raised the money needed to purchase my Omeo.

3 and half years ago my Omeo arrived and I haven't looked back since. It allows me to go nearly everywhere I want to be. I can fly around town for shopping or getting a coffee. I can go out to parks, woodland and beaches. I can get up hills and over rough ground and sail past 'not accessible for wheelchairs' signs.

Where my manual wheelchair makes me feel restricted and self conscious about my disability, the Omeo makes me feel proud and INDEPENDENT!

If I only had my manual wheelchair I would be inside my house making excuses as why I can't go out today. Instead I am off out to Windsor to grab a coffee and then head into the Great Park to charge past the joggers and cyclists on the Long Walk!!


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