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Wheelchair News

Quality Wheelchairs at Low Prices

  • NHS nurse heroe works from electric wheelchair

    We recently read of the British nurse who is believed to be the first working nurse to operate from a wheelchair. Michelle Quested qualified as a nurse in 2004 and began her nursing career as an able bodied nurse in frontline operations at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

    However in 2010 she was involved in a car accident that eventually left her in an electric wheelchair. 4 weeks after the accident, two of her spinal discs ruptured and crushed her spinal cord meaning that she lost mobility and was forced in to a wheelchair. Determined for this not to affect her chosen career Michele adopted the attitude that ‘But nurses are born to be nurses – and I wasn’t going to let being in a wheelchair stop me.’ So she set about getting an electric wheelchair adapted to allow her to work effectively.

    She used a manual wheelchair away from work however this was not suitable due to the use of her hands interacting with the wheels meant that she risked contaminating her patients after taking a more hands-on clinical role.

    Her electric wheelchair has been modified to some extent to allow her to work effectively. The changes to the wheelchair cost in the region of £1800 and included changes that make the wheelchair slightly narrower to make it more maneuverable.

    At the age of 33 Michele appears to be the only electric wheelchair user working as a nurse, ‘I cannot find any other frontline nursing staff in the UK who use a wheelchair, after doing a lot of research,’ she said.

    Michelle underwent surgery and several months of rehabilitation after which she could still only move her big toe. It was then that a consultant told her she was unlikely walk again.

    It was then that Quested decided she would be ‘the best possible wheelchair user I could be’ – and decided to go back to work.

  • The PW-1000XL lightweight folding electric wheelchair is here

    Naidex mobility show was held last week and mobility product suppliers of all natures were airing their new wares.

    One product that does shine above others is the all new Foldawheel PW-1000XL folding electric wheelchair which is heralded as the lightest and most advanced power wheelchair on the market. It seems to combine the best of all features that most folk look for in an electric wheelchair, namely the ability to fold with ease, lightweight construction making it easy to carry or lift in to a car boot or on to a bus and suitability to larger or heavier users coping with user weights of up to     150kg (330 lbs).

    We hope to be selling this reasonably priced electric wheelchair very soon and think that it will prove very popular thanks to its strong feature line up. The frame of this power wheelchair is made from aircraft grade aluminium which guarantees one thing and that is strength but allow the wheelchair to remain lightweight.

    The PW-1000XL powerchair seat width is 19" making it wider than the average wheelchair seat. It comes as standard with one battery which provides a range of 13km from a single charge. However, a second or even third battery can be added at extra cost, giving this electric powerchair a potential range of up to 39km or 24 miles from one charge. The charge time for a single battery is just 4 hours.

    Other great features include a brushless electric motor which not only provides more power but also has an extended lifespan over a traditional electric motor that is used in many electric wheelchairs, making it 50% more efficient.

    With a very quick folding action, rigid tyres front and back, twin 250watt motors and a very comfortable seat, this folding electric powerchair seems to have it all. So watch this space and we hope soon to have the Foldawheel powerchair in stock very soon !

  • Wheelchair user completes marathon

    Carl is no stranger to grueling physical challenges in his wheelchair. But this week end he and his wife completed the Manchester marathon in his wheelchair and propelled himself the whole of the 26 mile course taking the somewhat undulating route in his stride.

    Carl, who was born with Spina Bifida, has never let his condition limit his activities and has always enjoyed a challenge in his wheelchair. The unstoppable part time football coach has previously raised thousands of pounds for his football club the Skem Men-Aces Football Club in Skelmersdale , which was specifically set up for adults with learning disabilities.

    After the gruelling marathon even Carl said “I truly cannot believe that today and with my missus that I did the Greater Manchester Marathon 26.2 miles.

    “I’ve never been so physically and mentally exhausted in my life and that was the most demanding thing on my body that I’ve ever done.”

    No stranger to such challenges, Carl has previously won both the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Groups and a BBC Sports Personality of the Year award for his impressive efforts in his manual wheelchair.

    He said: “Between nine and 13 miles I had decided to call it a day but with huge encouragement from a fabulous crowd, Mim and the Skem Men-Aces, I managed to snatch away at each mile.

    “The hills were absolutely ridiculous at times and so soul destroying. “My wife Mim and I cried buckets as we crossed the finish line to rapturous applause, it was so emotional.

    “The people of Manchester were brilliant. They really kept us going with Jelly Beans and encouragement.

    “I’ll take my hat off to anyone that is thinking of doing a Marathon and shake their hands from now on.

    “Unbelievably I am closer to my target of £10,000 and that has made it so worth it.

    “I am in incredible pain but think a couple of pints in the Plough and Harrow pub in Skelmersdale will sort me out!

    Carl was the only entrant to the marathon in  a wheelchair. His drive and energy towards everything is so impressive. He formed the football team in 2009 and it now has over 50 members with varying disabilities including several wheelchair users.

    Although wheelchair half marathons are not so rare, entire marathons require an enormous amount of effort and commitment. Carl completed his marathon in a fairly standard self-propelled wheelchair as opposed to the specialist wheelchairs that you see in wheelchair racing at the Olympics for example. To see more about the world wheelchair marathon schedule click here.

    Well done Carl for such a tremendous effort and completing a massive 26.3 miles in your wheelchair. Your pint is well deserved !

  • Electric Wheelchair Review - Drive Medical Titan

    Continuing with our review of electric wheelchairs we have this week been spending some time with the Drive Medical Titan powerchair to see how it fairs against the competition in the electric wheelcahir market. As with our Cirrus powerchair review in January we will be looking at the chair from many perspectives with a view to giving it a final rating.

    Starting with maneuverability, this motorised wheelchair has a a good basic design to allow it to turn smoothly in as relatively small radius, when we say relatively it is in relation to its overall length. Other considerations with maneuverability include speed, and this powerchair has a top speed of 4 mph which is about average for this type of power-operated chair.

    Range is also about average with 15 miles being achievable from a single battery
    charge. Perhaps its main advantage under the maneuverability heading is its turning circle which is just 25" which is about the same as its overall width, meaning that it does literally turn on the spot. This is a key feature particularly if you wish to use the electric wheelchair inside and in confided spaces.

    Drive Medical electric wheelchair chasis Drive Medical powerchair chasis is compact

    Next we move on to comfort. It is not uncommon for folk to remain in their powerchair for several hours at a time and so it is incredibly important that the users remains comfortable throughout and that there is sufficient support to remain comfortable. Ride comfort is generally goverened by the number of wheels, 4 or 6 and suspension. This Titan electric wheelchair has 6 wheels and a reasonably long wheelbase meaning that the chair spreads its weight over a greater area allowing it to iron out undulations, lumps and bumps fairly well.

    An electric wheelchair that's easy to transport

    The Drive Medical Titan folded The Drive Medical Titan folded for storage or transprtation

    The seat can be height adjusted to allow for taller users with longer legs. The powerchair seat is very comfortable and does swivel allowing easier mount and dismount. The chair seat and back are padded for comfort but firm enough to give good support. It comes with an adjustable headrest that is removable to minimise space needed when storing or transporting the powerchair. The arm
    rests are also adjustable to ensure they are at the right height for support and
    comfort. The foot plates can also be adjusted to help adopt good posture during those long days out.

    This moves us on to transportability. The Titan powerchair folds down with ease for transport in a car. It folds in to a relatively compact space and weighs in at 68KG. The key with the Titan is that no tools are required to collapse this electric wheelchair in to smaller easy to handle parts making transprt by car relatively simple.

    Dynamic Shark programmable controller Easy to use dynamic Shark programmable controller

    Finally the Titan powerchair has a good array of safety features. Starting with 6 wheels, this makes the chair more stable than some to prevent slipping. A lap belt is fitted to keep you in your seat and the solid tyres front and back mean that you won't be caught out with a puncture.

    So how do we rate the Titan powerchair overall ?

    From a cost of ownership this model represents very good value overall backed up by Drive Medicals warranty that covers the frame for life, the electric components for 14 months and the batteries for 6 months. This electric wheelchair really does represent value for money.

  • Wheelchair Man Superhero

    What an interesting story it was to read when i heard about wheelchair man superhero ! a comic book character created by an injured Afghan child who was left paralyzed after his house was hit by a bomb and is now reliant on his wheelchair.

    This story, albeit true is both interesting and compelling and shows the real strength of character of the boy known as Mohammad Sayed. Mohamed, no a US citizen designed a comic book superhero - Wheelchair Man - based on his own life story.

    His mother died when he was just 5 or 6 years of age, a short time later he was seriously injured leaving him disabled and in need of treatment and a wheelchair. He was abandoned by his father who left him in the care of the hospital which was run by a team of 500 Italian medics. His spinal cord damage means that he will never walk and that a wheelchair was going to be a way of life for him.

    While in hospital he was asked to pay for his own food and clothes, so he started a small business repairing cell phones which eventually lead to him inventing a series of wheelchair accessories.

    After 7 years in the hospital Mohamed’s life took a change and he was adopted by a US citizen and taken to the states in his wheelchair still aged only 12. In his early days in the US he received medical treatment to straighten his spine.

    A few years on he began to learn a bit about engineering which was the start of his career in making wheelchair accessories. It started by him scouring the Internet for things to fit to his wheelchair but noticed quickly that many wheelchair accessories were over engineered and therefore overpriced.

    So Mohamed started designing his own inventions that included a cup-holder, a tripod for his camera and a canopy to keep the sun and rain off, all of which attached to his wheelchair. What was different here was that his wheelchair accessories were designed by a wheelchair user for wheelchair users. As he points out many of these products are designed to be fitted to the back of the wheelchair and therefore only in reach of the attendant and not the wheelchair user.

    Then something big happened, somehow the White House heard about his antics and he was invited to the 2015 White House Science Fair and presented to President Obama. This publicity catapulted him in to the spotlight where he has been able to continue his development of wheelchair gadgets on a commercial basis and the development of his beloved Wheelchair Man fictional character.

    Inspired by different comic characters - Spider Man and Iron Man he noticed the absence of any superheroes that represent the wheelchair community. "This is the greatest country, how is it possible that they have no wheelchair superhero?" he said.

    He wanted to celebrate the skills, powers and capabilities that wheelchair users have, so Mohamed started to create a superhero called Wheelchair Man based on his own real-life story.

    His character Wheelchair Man is a teenager, he's an immigrant and he's a Muslim. Hi s plan is to develop a comic book series to inspire people with disabilities. Wheelchair man is against hatred and he wants to end violence and make this world a better place. But he already has plans for more ! including Wheelchair Woman, Wheelchair Girl, Wheelchair Boy and Captain Afghanistan ! all of whom will be based on the real lives of wheelchair users from developing countries.

    We wish him luck and look forward to catching site of his wheelchair hero publications.

  • Did you see the mannequal wheelchair this week ?

    You may have seen a wheelchair prop in a shop window on the news this week, the Mannequal news story is about the wheelchair model that has been used in the window of a a couple of shops in Londons prestigious Oxford Street.

    First seen back in 2012 on the run up to the London Olympics, the wheelchair prop is the handy work of Sophie Morgan who uses a wheelchair herself since losing the use of her legs in a car crash at the age of 18.. The 'Mannequal' acts both as a wheelchair for mannequins but also as a style guide wheelchair users and a symbol of inclusivity.

    One of several designs she has created, the mannequal wheelchair is a symbol of disability which Sophie chooses to use as a reference point to raise the profile of people with disabilities and hep to get the wheelchair noticed and accepted in a busy high street setting.

    Sophie refers to inclusivity and hopes that by placing a wheelchair prop in the windows of a shop will help show that people with disabilities are welcomed, considered and that their needs are catered for.

    It was Adidas who first displayed the mannequal wheelchair props back in 2012 but as Sophie points out, they were rather quick to drop it and remove the wheelchairs once the games were over. In total there were 3 wheelchair props in one store on Oxford St at one point which gave great exposure for the cause and made Sophie very happy.

    It is estimated that the purple pound is worth £249 billion on the UK and that disabled customers could bring as much as £420 million per week in the UK. Sophie’s campaign is twofold, as not only does she want to raise awareness of the wheelchair and disability but also help to unleash the spending power that is available.

    Sophie points out that to have a wheelchair mannequin is not so strange and that you see models of different shapes sizes and colour so why should the wheelchair be so different ?

    If you want to read more why not check out Sophies blog where you can see the wheelchair prop here

  • Wheelchair glamour hits the catwalk

    It’s nice to see wheelchairs on the catwalk and it seems there are no limits for the Australian girl Justine Clarke who entered the Australian Miss World challenge in her wheelchair.  The beauty contest is held annually and was this year in hosted Adelaide in Southern Australia.

    Justine who has used a wheelchair for over 2years suffers from a severe leg deformity which prevents her from waling without assistance. However it doesn’t prevent her from doing much and her plucky courage has made her and her wheelchair some news by entering the competition. The quote that is making several newspapers is 'It does not define me... I can still be strong, feminine and beautiful'. As she arrived on stage in her wheelchair she announced 'No matter what your race, size or disability, you are beautiful'.

    Justine did not progress to the next stage but will still work closely with charities including the 'Beauty With a Purpose' movement - a mission to benefit 'the most vulnerable in our society. She went on to say 'A wheelchair does not define me or limit me. I can still be strong, feminine and beautiful.'

    Although Ms Clarke has been un a wheelchair for about two years she has chosen not to let the full story about her condition emerge. Speaking with one journalist from herself propelled wheelchair she commented 'I don’t really want to go in to what happened but I want to be a role model and empower young women. For somebody in a wheelchair to be able to compete is a big thing. I really hope it sends a message that no matter what your race, size or disability - whatever makes you different - you are beautiful.'

    Justine was driven by the unusually large percentage of disadvantaged children who are wheelchair users in Southern Australia and her plan is to continue to work with Variety the charity for children and spread the Beauty With a Purpose message. She hopes to help raise awareness for young wheelchair users and encourage fund raising efforts to help the cause.

    Certainly seeing a wheelchair on the catwalk was an empowering sight and her Justine’s comments about a wheelchair not defining her hit a note with many at the event. Being able to compete in a wheelchair does define her message that 'no matter what your race, size or disability – whatever makes you different – you are beautiful.'

  • Taxi drivers face fines for refusing wheelchairs

    A new law will soon come in to affect which will impose penalties on taxi and private hire drivers who refuse to provide services to wheelchair users and will make it an offence to charge a higher fare to wheelchair users.

    Most wheelchairs are folding wheelchairs these days so there is no real reason for any form of taxi to refuse to give users with wheelchairs a ride and these fines can be up to £1000.

    These penalties are due to come in to affect from April the 6th this year and will be enforced with immediate effect. All drivers are expected to offer appropriate assistance to wheelchair users to ensure that they and their chairs are treated much the same as any other fare.

    The rules will soon apply across the whole of Great Britain for taxis and private hire vehicles designated as wheelchair accessible and this includes all black cabs in London and taxis in many other cities.

    In addition to the proposed fines, drivers could face the loss of their licenses if they fail to comply with the new ruling for wheelchair users. Robert Meadowcroft, the chief executive of Muscular Dystrophy UK, said it was “a victory for all people with disabilities who experience daily struggles with accessible transport”.

    Many disability charities have campaigned long and hard for this to become enforced as “People who use wheelchairs are often heavily reliant on taxis and private hire vehicles and this change to the law will mean fair and equal treatment for all.”

    It is reckoned that historically the struggle faced by those in wheelchairs has mean that they are less able to find employment nor to play an active role in society. it is now down to the government to ensure that more is done to incentivise the private hire taxi industry so to increase the amount of wheelchair accessible cabs so that users can remain in their wheelchairs during their journey.

    Faryal Velmi, Transport for All’s director, has also called or more training for drivers of taxis to improve the treatment of all disabled passengers. There are further plans afoot this year to address other barriers faced by disabled people including users of wheelchairs using all types of public transport.

  • Wheelchair spaces at football grounds

    Wheelchairs at football grounds. It has been a contended issue for many years but now it seems to be making some progress as Premier League clubs may face sanctions over lack of improvement to disabled access and wheelchair users. A recent report has shown that clubs continue to prioritise spend elsewhere but at last might face legal actions and possible financial penalties if they do not meet the needs of disabled fans in wheelchairs.

    There are a number of basic standards set out to ensure that grounds are suitable for wheelchair access and many of the premier clubs still fail to meet these standards, including Watford, Liverpool and Chelsea. A deadline for these basic standards to be in place is looming.

    In 2015, the footy league promised to massively improve stadium facilities for disabled fans and stated that football clubs would have to comply with official guidance by August 2017 which is not far away.

    An investigation made by the BBC in 2014 found that 17 of the 20 clubs in the top flight had failed to provide enough wheelchair spaces at matches. The select committee's report on "Accessibility of Sports Stadia" names Bill Bush as stating that top flight clubs who fail these criteria will be punished and fined up to £25,000 or more if the issues weren’t addressed and wheelchairs catered for in a more acceptable manner.

    So what do the football clubs have to say about this ? Watford have already indicated they will fail to fulfill the pledge on wheelchair spaces, indicating in a club statement that "all known demand from disabled supporters has been met".

    In one quote David Butler, chairman of independent disabled supporters group WFC stated that  if the extra 61 wheelchair spaces required under the league's guidelines are provided at Vicarage Road, "700 able-bodied supporters would be displaced from cherished seats that they may have occupied for many years. Chelsea football club plans to demolish their Stamford Bridge stadium and plan to meet all guidelines when the ground is rebuilt. And, as for Liverpool they have not made any claims officially but are understood to be exploring options to promote wheelchair access as part of redevelopment work at Anfield.

    In fact another study showed that only three Premier League football stadiums provide the actual required number of wheelchair spaces so let’s hope that in the coming months leading up to the deadline there is some good news from many clubs to better cater for wheelchair access.

  • Wheelchair user prevented from boarding bus - post ruling

    Well it didn’t take long for this to happen, a wheelchair users was refused space on the bus she wanted to catch in Wakefield Yorkshire because the wheelchair space was taken by a mother with pushchair. Not best pleased by this, Kirsty Shepard was even told by the driver of the Ariva bus that she was not allowed to board the bus at all despite there being plenty of space.

    This came only five days after the Supreme Court said that bus drivers must be more accommodating towards wheelchair users. Ariva responded by saying they were investigating the matter urgently.

    Bizarrely, Kisrty said that the woman with the pushchair on the Rothwell to Wakefield bus was happy to move, but the driver still would not let Kirsty on the bus in the wheelchair, presumably because it would mean that either the pushchair or the wheelchair would be compromised from a safety point of view. When a bus has to display a sign that reads "Please give up this space if needed for a wheelchair user" you would think that most folk including the driver would understand and be accommodating but clearly not always.

    The Supreme court found the company, First Bus, should do more to persuade non-wheelchair users to move from wheelchair spaces, but did not have the legal power to remove them. Ms Shepherd said the Arriva driver told the passengers to get off, saying it was her fault the journey could not go on.

    "He leant forward and said 'I can't let you on love, I've got a pushchair on'," she said. "I said 'well please ask her to move'. He said 'I can't do that'.At this point in time, the lady with the pushchair actually moved of her own accord. but the driver still would not let Ms Shepherd on.

    "The people on the bus started shouting saying 'just get the next bus, we've got homes to get to'," she said. Kirsty then spoke to the driver's manager who was also not willing to let her on board the bus.

    Mr Pauley, who was the centre of the original ruling was contacted and questioned about the wheelchair V buggy incident that Kisrty had experienced and he said he could not see why Ms Shepherd had been denied the bus journey. "On her bus there was a buggy space, so there were two separate spaces. When that lady [with the pushchair] moved into the buggy space that space was free and available for a wheelchair, so I don't know why the driver didn't let her on."

    He said he thought the Supreme Court ruling had gone far enough to help wheelchair users.

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