Monday, 3 September 2018

Powerchair Update | An Exciting Development

It's now been a year since this whole powerchair journey began for me, I had my first demo of the Quantum Q6 Edge 2.0 and started fundraising as soon as I got the quote after the NHS said I didn't meet their criteria. I truly believed that fundraising 11.5k would take me a year to do but here I am a year down the line and I've already had my powerchair for half of that time. I don't think it will ever sink in how quickly we raised the funds, and how willing to help everyone was. I'm still experiencing so many things for the first time, just this weekend me and Mum did our first ever double show day in London, something that was impossible until this year. I've done so much this year already, I'm cramming in as many experiences as possible and I am grateful everyday for the gift that everyone gave me. My life is unrecognisable compared to last year.


Of course you'll have heard all of this in my previous powerchair update, I really didn't expect to be updating you all again so soon but the most incredible development happened last week. If you've been following along then you'll know that over the past 6 months I've spent some time with the Quantum team, after they loved my blog posts about how life changing my powerchair has been. It started with a meeting and then they invited me to their HQ a few months again where we spent a day in Oxford taking some photos and then I toured the HQ and buildline where the powerchair's are built, it was such a fascinating experience getting to see the behind the scenes and we've been in contact ever since.

There were many reasons that I went for Quantum when choosing a powerchair and when recommending them to other powerchair users I always speak about how supportive a company they are, from every conversation I've had with everyone from the team I've gotten the impressive that they truly care about making a difference to people lives and shaping themselves around what powerchair users really want from their chair. I truly love my powerchair, the iLevel function has given me so much independence and has proved invaluable in social occasions recently, the tilt and recline functions have allowed me to manage my pain and even some of the smaller features like the bag clips have allowed me to live the kind of life I want to live. So, shouting about them seems the obvious thing to do. Choosing a powerchair privately, whether you're fundraising or otherwise, is a big deal and it feels like a huge responsibility and when I was researching I just didn't find the personal reviews that I wanted, so I want to provide that for others. Working with Quantum as a result of that has been a privilege.


It still came as a huge surprise when they put the most incredible offer to me a few weeks ago though. This is a 2 part exciting development though. It started with them asking me if I wanted to do some filming with them for a video about the new powerchair they are releasing in September, an upgraded version of my powerchair. Now I've gotten quite comfortable with having my photo taken over the past year but video still terrifies me and I've turned down a few TV opportunities in the past few months because I've been so anxious about it. This seemed like too good an opportunity to turn down though and I thought about how much a video from the perspective of someone who actually uses and loves the chair would have made a difference to me when researching.

It was part 2 of this that really left me speechless when the phonecall came a few weeks ago when I was in Leeds. I was apprehensive too though. Quantum wanted me to be the first person in the UK with the Edge 3.0 powerchair, an upgraded version of my current Edge 2.0. It would involve taking my seating system (that's the actual seat, cushions, back rest and electric functions like iLevel, tilt, recline etc.) off my Edge 2.0 base and transferring it over to an Edge 3.0 base. So, it wouldn't be a totally brand new chair, I'd still be keeping half of my original fundraised for chair. It was an incredible offer and every part of me wanted to accept but I was worried about how those who contributed to my powerchair would feel about this, since I'd only had my chair for 6 months.


We came up with a solution though, if I accepted then we would take my old base and add on whatever it needed to be donated to an individual or a charity. I also talked to a few friends about it, especially those who had played such a big part in the fundraising, and everyone said that without a doubt I had to accept.

So, last week I travelled up to Bicester and we changed everything over. Now it's not finished yet because my Edge 3.0 will be matte black (just wait until you see it, it's beautiful!) but the shrouds haven't arrived yet so for a few weeks I've got matte blue shrouds, which are growing on me actually! We also want to make sure my old base goes to a good home so we aren't rushing the process of finding either an individual or a charity but right now we are leaning towards putting a paediatric seat on it so that a child or teenager can experience the freedom and independence that I have. It's been incredible getting my life back at 21 years old so I cannot imagine how amazing that would be to gain so much of life back as a child or teen. It's important to me that wherever it goes it's well loved and used though, and I'll be keeping everyone updated on the progress of my chair's journey. I want all of this to be as open as possible because without your support I wouldn't have got to this point.


Once everything was changed over it was time to do the actual filming, which we did in Oxford. We managed to find some really cute accessible locations to film at including The Jam Factory (which do the best falafel wrap I've ever tasted), Eagle Vintage (the cutest little vintage shop) and Branca (you must try their Elderflower Gin Fizz!). It was a really fun and interesting experience filming with Bounce Video, it was nothing like any of the TV filming I've done this year but very fascinating to see how much work goes into a video that will be less than 2 minutes long. The idea of watching the finished product makes me cringe a little but I'm sure it will be great, and I'll share it with you all once it's live!

If I don't stop myself now I reckon I could ramble on all day about this, it's such an exciting and completely unexpected development but I'm looking forward to seeing my old chair go on to help another person. I will of course continue doing these updates because I've still got my original seating system and this new base is an upgraded version of my previous chair rather than a completely different type of chair altogether. I'm still doing so many things for the first time too and I think that is going to continue well into next year!
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4 comments

  1. Ah that's amazing, and absolutely, taking up the offer of the newer model is perfectly fine! I love that you're making sure that someone else will be benefiting from this too. It's just lovely to see how much the powerchair has helped you and well, you're constantly passing on the kindness to others.

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    1. Thank you so much! It seems the obvious thing to do since the base is only 6 months old, be a waste to just get rid of it when it could change another persons life!

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  2. I can't imagine anyone who supported you to buy the chair would begrudge you having the opportunity to upgrade and your solution to the conundrum sounds brilliant!

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