My Wheelchair & Me!

The Aims of International Wheelchair Day
To enable wheelchair users to celebrate the positive impact a wheelchair has in their lives.

To celebrate the great work of the many millions of people who provide wheelchairs, who provide support and care for wheelchair users and who make the World a better and more accessible place for people with mobility issues.

To acknowledge and react constructively to the fact there are many tens of millions of people in the World who need a wheelchair, but are unable to acquire one.

To celebrate International Wheelchair Day on 1 March I want to share what my wheelchair has taught me about life – the wheelchair is a piece of technology that we are all familiar with, used by millions of people around the world including myself.
I have a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy a progressive muscle wasting condition. I use my powered wheelchair 24/7, 365 days, unless it’s a leap year! That has been my reality of nearly two decades. But my wheelchair has given me a unique perspective that I wouldn’t trade for all the tea in China.

For adults and children transitioning into the new world of Disability, the thought of having to use a wheelchair can be a daunting and scary place. It is also surrounded with some negativity. You only need to look at the words or phrases used to describe wheelchair use: “bound”, “confined”, “have to use”.

As old-fashioned as these words and phrases are, unfortunately, they are still very much alive in everyday language and the way we/Society thinks about disability.
My first wheelchair was when I was 25/26. It wasn’t anything fancy or powered it was your standard run-of-the-mill manual wheelchair in sexy black from Wheelchair Services, with big wheels and long handlebars, which gave me the option to manoeuvre myself. But also allowed my partner, family or friends to help get me from A to B.

On several occasions hubby did wander off leaving me hanging around the shopping aisles, forgetting he needed to take me with him!

Since then I have upgraded a few times to different powered wheelchairs over the years -giving me more freedom and independence. You could say a whole new lease of life. At times my wheelchair has also allowed me to see the not-so-nice side of life. However, it has also opened up a world of new experiences and opportunities.

Examples. Travelling is very different. My blog. My campaigning work in Changing Places toilets, accessible housing and women’s health. A freelance writer and author. My awards and the TV/radio opportunities. Without my wheels I wouldn’t have experienced this life.

Let’s get real. When people see/meet me for the first time the wheelchair is the first thing that catches your eye. It has been many a conversation starter. Being a wheelchair user you’re either going to stick out like a sore thumb or disappear into the background.

I am one of those people where my facial expression tells you exactly what I’m thinking but mostly I’ll be smiling – that goes either way: allowing people to feel comfortable approaching and striking up a conversation, or the wheelchair just stands out too much and they talk to the person next to me.

I am also reminded the world still has a long way to go. Having a wheelchair or any type of disability you will quickly notice some within society will judge. Stare. Be ignorant. Biased. Ablest. Call you names. Talk about you in front of you. Tell you “You can’t”. Tell you “No”. Ask you a lot of questions or just completely ignore you.

In the past, it would make me angry. I’d want to scream, and shout. Then I quickly realised you can’t argue with someone who doesn’t understand or want to by educating themselves to be the change. But what I can do is teach the ones that want to make a difference by sharing my story, my struggles, the barriers I face day-to-day.

A wheelchair will quickly teach you who is worth your time and energy.
A wheelchair gives you the platform to be an advocate not only for yourself but for creating a more equal playing field for everyone else.

I’m thankful that I’ve been able to see the world on both sides of the fence from being non-disabled to disabled it’s definitely made me appreciate the life lessons, it’s taught me to see the world in a very different way, to be more patient, caring, understanding and humble.

A wheelchair is your legs giving you, your freedom, independence, and the opportunity to participate in life, get engaged, and it gives the gift of a unique perspective and valuable skills that you will take with you throughout your life.

The saying really is true that when one door closes, another opens. Focusing on the negative will only blindside you into seeing the things you cannot do, instead of looking for the opportunities that you can.

The best life lesson that my wheelchair has taught me is to appreciate life! My chair has travelled with me, introduced me to lifelong friends, campaigned for a more inclusive and diverse world, allowed me to spend time with my family and friends, wheeled me down the aisle on my wedding day. I don’t know where I would be without it, and it is a good reminder to appreciate the little things in life.

My powered wheelchair acts as my legs!

Until next time

Kisses K

Come give me a follow and say hi.

Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram

6 thoughts on “My Wheelchair & Me!

  1. This is an excellent post, Kerry. I didn’t know this day existed and was so happy when your post landed in my inbox. I agree with everything you say about being a wheelchair user, and especially that it will show you who is worth your time and energy This has come at the perfect time as I’m going through some wheelchair related stuff at the moment (a seating change to custom seating) and I will need a new chair in future.

    We wheelchair users are such fighters!

    Keep up the great posts

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wrote a post about International Wheelchair Day too. In response to yours – I was born with a disability and received my first powerchair at the young age of three. Since then, my trusty chair (each one of them in turn) has been my constant companion, accompanying me on countless adventures, introducing me to friends, and advocating for a more inclusive world – I took part in the Disabled Citizens Inquiry launch in London recently, there’s a post about it on my blog if you’re interested . It has allowed me to spend quality time with my loved ones and has become an integral part of my daily life.

    In essence, my powered wheelchair serves as my legs, enabling me to navigate the world with ease and independence.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: