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Off to the circus ?

Coming to Ipswich on June 25th is the Nitro Circus, a circus with a difference hence the name. Our interest is with Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham who continues to do some fairly amazing stunts in his wheelchair !

Having spent his life in a wheelchair since the age of just 7 hasn't stopped Aaron from doing much. This all started when his big brother encouraged him to drop into a quarter pipe ramp at his local skate park when he was just 8 years old. Since then his stunts have become more complex , more dangerous and more bizarre.

Using a tailor made wheelchair, Aaron is able to complete maneuvers including jumps, somersaults, loop the loops and more. He comments “For me, the wheelchair was never something that held me back. It was always a positive. I never really thought I can’t do something, I just had to do it a little different and find a way to make things work for me,”

Taking influence for his stunts from bmx tricks and skateboard tricks he has achieved some fantastic results in his wheelchair. “Being in a wheelchair, people always have this stereotype (in their minds) and try to set limits but it’s important to not let any of that hold you up or slow you down; keep moving towards your goals.” he says.

So how did he progress to the circus ? aged 18 he received an email from the circus manager asking him if he wanted to try their big ramp in his wheelchair ! “Before even thinking about how big that ramp was going to be I said ‘yeah’,” laughs Wheelz, the only person in the world to hit Nitro’s famous Giganta Ramp in a wheelchair. “I just went out and survived, so they were like ‘okay, you’re on the tour after just one jump’. That was awesome.” He has never looked back since.

In 2006 he achieved the world’s first back flip in a wheelchair. 4 years later he amazed the crowds in Woodward by doing the first double back flip. Invited to join Nitro Circus, he soon became a crowd favorite. In 2011, during their first tour of New Zealand, Wheelz landed the world’s first wheelchair frontflip in front of 17,500 screaming fans in Wellington.

“It’s pretty cool. It’s a good feeling to have some records I can look back at and think ‘oh wow. I’ve been able to accomplish all this’. It’s awesome,” he says, adding he couldn’t do what he does without Mike Box of Box Wheelchairs, who’s been building chairs for him since he was nine; describing him as pretty much like a second dad.

We don't recommend that you try any stunts in your wheelchair however if you are looking for a model that is sporty and more maneuverable than most why not consider the Quickie Argon2 Self Propelled Wheelchair from Sunrise Medical.

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