Saturday, 1 February 2020

Powerchair Update | 2 Years On

Disclaimer: I was gifted an upgrade on my powerchair by Quantum.


2 years ago today I was sat impatiently waiting in my living room, looking out of the window every time I heard the sound of a car. I could barely sit still out of excitement, but why? Well, I was waiting for my new life to arrive. It is certainly not an understatement to use the words 'powerchair' and 'my new life' as interchangeable terms, because that's exactly what my powerchair has given me. A new life, a new chance, new opportunities. The chance to reach my potential. Back then I mostly saw it as a gateway to enjoy life again and do the things I'd missed, simple things like going shopping without it ending in tears. But, looking at my life now I can see that my new powerchair represents so much more than that for me. My life is simply unrecognisable in ways that I never allowed myself to dream or hope about. That's what my powerchair has given me ultimately, the ability to dream and make those dreams my reality.

It's difficult to summarise the past 2 years into one post, if you read my previous updates you can see how much my confidence has grown with time. I've become braver and more daring. Once upon a time I could never imagine myself travelling into London alone and now I do it weekly, often travelling across the country too. I'm saying yes to more, often taking leaps of faith and seeing where I land. I cannot believe the opportunities I've had thanks to this incredible gift and I will never stop being grateful. I've been writing these updates to try and show people that using a wheelchair doesn't have to be a negative thing, for me it was life changing and opened up my world and I hope that's what I've achieved.


The i-Level function on my Quantum Q6 Edge 3.0 powerchair has enabled me to regain a level of independence that I didn't think I'd get back. Even now being able to turn down help from strangers to reach high shelves in supermarkets is just as satisfying as the first time I was able to say 'no, I'm okay'. When I go to the theatre I can 'stand' with everyone else to give a standing ovation. I can wheel alongside my girlfriend holding her hand. The disability activist in me still fights against this everyday, because the social model of disability says that it is the world that surrounds us that is the problem and should change, but I cannot deny the positive impact that i-Level has had on my life. I am grateful for it every single day.

One change I could have never have predicted would be possible is that I'm now able to work. I've been self employed now for 5 months, I'm not working many hours at all and certainly not earning much but I am finally doing what I love. My powerchair has enabled me to say yes to things that have furthered my career. It's enabled me to become a published author, a freelance writer, and more recently to pursue my love of theatre and live events photography. Just this week I was able to say yes to a last minute trip to Leeds to visit a theatre, learn about their accessibility and take some rehearsal photos. Not only would that have not been possible pre-powerchair, I also wouldn't have had the confidence to say yes. My powerchair makes me a better and more confident version of myself. Someone who can be spontaneous and can grab opportunities as and when they arise. So, when I talk about the impact my powerchair has had on my life, yes we can talk in terms of me not being in as much pain when I'm out and about but the real impact has been the confidence it has gifted me as a result. That is what has changed my life the most.


All I can do is smile when I look back on these past 2 years, the experiences I've had and the people I've met have shaped me into who I am today. It all feels like some kind of surreal dream that this is my life now, for so long I couldn't see beyond the end of a day but now I can safely allow myself to look forward to the future with hope. 2 years might have passed but it feels like my journey is only just beginning.

To every single person who donated, shared my GoFundMe or simply just supported me in this journey; thank you. Collectively all of your small gestures changed my whole life and for that I will never be able to express my gratitude enough.
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