In her new series, IT'S A GRIT LIFE, Nerissa shares how the GRIT Freedom Chair helps her to continue engaging in her favorite activities and living a life of adventure. Today she talks about how the GRIT Freedom Chair helps her to continue engaging in one of her favorite activities: hiking!
Those of us who use manual wheelchairs are often forced to accept certain environmental limitations. Whether it’s broken pavement on a sidewalk, missing curb cuts, steep hills, or simply rough terrain, necessity forces wheelchair users to become experts at navigation. On the flip side, however, new accessible technology also means that these types of challenges can be overcome. More specifically, thanks to the dedicated work of a group of engineers, there’s now a wheelchair designed especially for off-road terrain: the GRIT Freedom Chair.
I hadn’t been there in years. My last memories there were with my sidekick of a dog running through the woods down to the stream and crawling through the piney hills. This time I was prepared with my Green Machine, and my faithful sidekicks. There were smooth pine covered trails with some nice big roots here and there (I’ve grown to love the rooty, rocky stuff in this chair! Feels good climbing through tight spots on my wheels. Mini victories every time!). The woods were fairly open which allowed me to truly get off trail. I smashed through some dry underbrush and poked around like the “good ol’ days”.
We at GRIT believe that finances shouldn’t limit your access to the equipment you need to reclaim your active lifestyle. Because of this belief, we work hard to help each individual find the funds they need to move beyond the pavement. In some cases, a grant may be the best option.
Now I had a piece of equipment that in many instances could put me on an equal playing field with an able-bodied person. Now I could take myself INTO nature again instead of simply observing from the sidelines. I hope to be an example to show that people with mobility challenges WANT to come into nature.
Would I recommend the Freedom Trail to a wheelchair user looking for an activity to do in Boston? Absolutely! In spite of the barriers in my way it was still an enjoyable day and a fascinating trek. Above all, do not let the fear of obstacles stop you from an adventure! After all, it's when things don't go right that you come away with the best stories.
When my birthday rolled around, my friends decided to treat me to what a New England beach had to offer.None of this would have been possible without my GRIT Freedom Chair. Every day I use it I'm grateful to the designers, but when I overcome a new obstacle like a beach I'm overcome with appreciation. My Freedom Chair is the reason that my chronic illness hasn't kept my from living an active and adventurous life. I look forward to many more "GRIT" days in the future!