Freedom Chair riders aren't just our customers—they're part of the GRIT family. Today's Rider Spotlight features Aisha Musa! Read on to learn about her adventures.
“I refuse to live in a world that was not designed to me. I’ve spent my life looking for the right equipment that will allow me to do what I want to do. The [GRIT] Freedom Chair is about being able to do that.”
Aisha is a very active individual living in Portland, Oregon. She refuses to be “old,” so she says, “I’ve lived 60 years.” Aisha was born with cerebral palsy, but at the time of her birth, the doctors told her mother she was dead. They then saw her foot move.
Ever since then, Aisha has spent her time trying to find the right equipment to enable her to remain active and connected in the world.
I refuse to live in a world that was not designed to me. I’ve spent my life looking for the right equipment that will allow me to do what I want to do . . . My whole thing as a disabled person is I just want to be able to do what everyone else does so I’m always on the lookout for equipment that will allow me to do it.
In this pursuit, Aisha realized something about herself.
Ten years ago, I went to Morocco by myself with my wheelchair for a conference. I’m an adventurer, and that was the point of my life when I admitted it.
Why did Aisha decide on the Freedom Chair?
Aisha started to realize that, in order to have the freedom to go where she wanted, when she wanted, she would need better mobility equipment than she typically used.
When I started looking at the Freedom Chair, I was living in Central New York, in the Snow Belt. People don’t always plow their sidewalks. I just wanted to be able to get around in my environment. An ultralight wheelchair will not always handle outdoor obstacles. Mobility scooters are better, but para-transit will not always pick you up [if you are using one].
Although she liked the idea of the Freedom Chair, Aisha was hesitant to take the plunge and get one of her own.
At first I wasn’t sure it would be quite right for me . . . I was concerned about using and maintaining the chair as a disabled person . . . Seeing Nerissa’s [It’s a GRIT Life] videos was quite helpful for me . . . Here is a video of a person doing it in a way similar to how I’m going to do it . . . Nerissa’s videos helped me feel confident about my decision by the time I was ready to purchase.
Finally, after 2.5 years of deliberation, Aisha obtained her very own Freedom Chair! She couldn’t be happier with her decision.
This is the most liberating piece of equipment that I have ever had! When people stop me and say, “That’s amazing,” I tell them, “This is the most awesome chair that I have ever used. It is just absolutely amazing.”
What activities does Aisha enjoy doing in her GRIT Freedom Chair?
Aisha appreciates just being able to more easily get around when and where she wants.
A lot of people I see use the Freedom Chair for marathons and mountain climbing. I’m not that kind of outdoorsy. I just want to go where I want to go and do what I want to do.
She also enjoys being able to keep her active dog, Buddy, exercised.
Buddy loves to take nice long walks in the park. The Freedom Chair keeps us outdoors and in shape . . . . . . I’ve lost ten pounds since starting to use it! . . . [We] walk everyday, wherever we want to go. The Freedom Chair can handle any terrain, from the sidewalk to the grass, over tree roots, you name it . . . Buddy and I are going to more places farther away because of the Freedom Chair!
What is Aisha's favorite thing about the GRIT Freedom Chair?
Aisha appreciates the added safety, stability, and versatility of the Freedom Chair over the mobility equipment she typically has used.
There are things I can do in the Freedom Chair that take work, but would have been impossible in my ultralight or my scooter. In my ultralight, I couldn’t take a hill anywhere near as steep as I can in my Freedom Chair. I can go three miles in the Freedom Chair, and I don’t have to watch a battery. In my scooter,I go a couple of miles and am starting to watch the battery . . . The Freedom Chair is more maneuverable than the electric scooter. The ultralight is more maneuverable, but it just can’t take the terrain the Freedom Chair can. I don’t worry about falling over, and I love that because I just feel so much safer in the Freedom Chair.
While it is primarily an outdoor chair, it’s very convenient for Aisha to use it both inside and outside.
At this point, I have completely traded my mobility scooter for the Freedom Chair for all outdoor activities. I take it on the commuter train all the time; it’s perfect for that. I use the chair in the library and the grocery store and my building. I really use it indoors and outdoors . . . it’s the most awesome chair I’ve ever owned. “Freedom” is the right word for it.