Rider Spotlight: Pedee Possum

Freedom Chair riders aren't just our customers—they're part of the GRIT family. Today's Rider Spotlight features Pedee Possum. Read on to learn about her adventures!

This is an awesome off-road wheelchair that has opened up my world immensely. Not only can I easily navigate dirt roads, mud, lawns, snow, and ice, but I am now able to get to many more places in nature that I was no longer able to get to . . . The Freedom Chair is my salvation at this point in an otherwise tragic life. It provides so many outdoor activities.

About Pedee

Pedee has lived with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis for twenty years. Even as her illness progresses, she continues to look for ways to remain the active person she always has been.

Before MS destroyed my life, I was an avid hiker, double-diamond skier, and windsurfer . . . I rode a handcycle until 2.5 years ago, but my hands are now messed up and I’m unable to change gears.

Pedee is determined to move under her own power as long as possible.

When I got my first manual wheelchair four years ago due to MS, the mobility specialists told me I was unusual; that most people with MS usually just get a motorized scooter. My philosophy is that I will stagger, crawl, or propel myself with my arms as long as possible.

With her standard mobility equipment, however, this was becoming progressively more difficult.

I stagger through my house with a rollator and need an electric wheelchair to go into the world. I’m mostly trapped like a prisoner in my home.

Why did Pedee decide on the GRIT Freedom Chair?

One of the main concerns for Pedee when choosing her adaptive equipment is shoulder health.

Before getting the Freedom Chair, I had developed chronic shoulder pain. I've lost grip strength bilaterally, so had to twist my arms in unusual ways to keep pushing the manual chair. After switching exclusively to the Freedom Chair, my shoulder pain has completely disappeared. The lever system is awesome, and if worse comes to worse, I can Velcro my hands to the levers, even if I can't grip a manual wheelchair rim.

While she appreciated the increased ability that came from using the Freedom Chair, Pedee admits there was an adjustment period before she felt comfortable.

Initially, navigating with the chair felt a bit counterintuitive to me, and I was extremely frustrated on any slanted path, as the chair wants to go to the lowest point. The chair movements are now second nature to me . . . Hang in there! It really is freeing the places it can take you.

What activities does Pedee enjoy doing in her GRIT Freedom Chair?

Pedee most appreciates being able to get out into nature (no matter the season) with the people and pets she loves.

The Freedom Chair is the highlight of my day now. I ride 1.25 miles a day with my girlfriend and our dogs. It is awesome to be getting aerobic exercise outside with the bunnies and deer. I ride year-round through snow, mud, potholes. It is great on the rare occasions I find someone willing to push me up a trail to a lake.

What is Pedee’s favorite thing about the GRIT Freedom Chair?

Pedee appreciates the durability, affordability, and ease of maintenance of the Freedom Chair.

It is extremely well-built and actually very well-priced in comparison to other manual wheelchairs. Also, the fact that it is built with common bicycle components makes it very easy to repair, and the job can be done by any bike mechanic. I'm no longer reliant on mobility specialists who make you wait months to repair, and then charge insurance 10-20x the amount. Fabulous chair. I highly recommend it and thank these brilliant MIT engineers for keeping me mobile throughout the year.

Want to share your own Freedom Journey with others? Email community@gogrit.us to get started!