My hands started shaking last October and by March I couldn’t stand by myself. It was too quick for me to process really so I just kept getting on with it.
Taking the dog out for a walk I started by using hiking poles for balance and hoped no one would see me. After getting blisters and shoulder ache, I borrowed that same step gran’s canes. She has loads but none of them were the same so they were different heights and drastically different patterns.
So after too long I bought my own sticks and cried. I didn’t want to have to use walking sticks, I didn’t want to look different, I didn’t want to be able and I didn’t want to be in pain. But then I came to the point where the sticks weren’t enough and I cried some more. I eventually gave in and bought a wheelchair.
It was the best decision of my life. I cried when I got in it and moved around because I was free. My knees weren’t in as much pain, I could keep up with everyone else, I could leave the house. I COULD.
And it made me realise that I loved my wheelchair straight away. But before I had it, I was terrified. I started the #iAm♿️ campaign to help not other people deal with how they felt about their mobility aids, but more selfishly for myself.
But it has grown into more than that. I get people I’ve never met messaging me, thanking me, for sharing stories about people with disabilities - helping them realise that there isn’t anything to be afraid of.
Getting a mobility aid isn’t giving up. It is taking control. The #iAm♿️ campaign has been fundamental to how I view myself as a wheelchair user, but it has also opened my heart to so many more stories and amazing people - that it’s changed who I am as a person.
I hadn’t ever come across a place to share what a mobility makes us feel in a positive light because we are taught that disability is a bad word. It is not. #iAm♿️ disabled and #iAm♿️ proud.
#iAm♿️ Project website