What Freedom Means to Me
By Jeremy Kerr
One of the original GRIT Trailblazers ambassadors, Jeremy is happiest when he's outside in the wild. He loves camping, kayaking on the lake, or pushing down wooded trails. After medically retiring from his position at the Oconee County Sheriff's office, he volunteers, using his personal experiences to help others deal with their recent spinal cord injuries.
Freedom: the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint.
I can tell you, over the past 15 years I have often felt as though I am under physical restraint due to my everyday wheelchair. It does not allow me to get too far off road or to get across a gravel driveway with ease.
Thankfully, that all changed when I got my GRIT Freedom Chair. The GRIT Freedom Chair is a chain driven wheelchair in which the individual using the wheelchair pushes on levers to engage the chains and propel the chair forward.
I am truly blown away at what the GRIT Freedom Chair has allowed me to do. I have been off-road, on hiking adventures, and I've been able to cross creeks with ease. I was even able to take my GRIT Freedom Chair into the lake to cool down. While in the lake with water up to my knees I was still able to get traction and wheel around in the water.
The most exciting thing I have experienced in my GRIT Freedom Chair thus far was on a family vacation at North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. For the past 15 years when I traveled to the beach I had to get in a beach wheelchair. I have nothing against a beach wheelchair - it does allow you to get on the beach as long as you have someone to push you. However, once you are on the beach you cannot push around on your own and you are pretty much just sitting on the beach getting a tan or getting sunburnt.
Thankfully, this year I had the GRIT Freedom Chair and with it, I was able to push around on the beach by myself. The fact that I was able to push through the soft sand by myself was mind-blowing, and yeah, it was a good workout! Once I got through the soft sand to the hard packed sand it felt like I was pushing on cement - check out the video below to see it in action! I was even able to go down and wade in the ocean and do some surf fishing with my nephew.
Again, I am truly blown away at what I can accomplish in my GRIT Freedom Chair! I love the movie Braveheart with Mel Gibson, and every time I conquer a new obstacle in my GRIT Freedom Chair it makes me want to wave a flag and yell “FREEDOM!!!!” The GRIT Freedom Chair gets you off the sidelines and allows you to play and move beyond the pavement - I hope that others will be able to experience the Freedom that I have experienced!!
Updated August 17, 2021; originally published July 25, 2016