While I love my cool iLevel Wheelchair, being in a wheelchair can be very stressful at times. I have a rare condition called spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Spinal muscular atrophy makes my muscles very weak and that’s why I use a power wheelchair to get around. Because I’m physically challenged, I am unable to do some of the things my friends like to do. If I didn’t have this condition, I would be really happy because then I would be able to walk, run, jump, sit, stand and do everyday things by myself without help. I see kids staring sometimes and can’t seem to take their eyes off me. For some reason this never bothers me. I just go up to them and start a conversation. They ask what’s wrong with you and I just say, ‘Nothing, but my muscles are too weak for me to walk.’ Being outgoing has gained me a lot of friends throughout the years. I am a local celebrity in my hometown because I am an honorary police officer for the City of Covington, Georgia.
I still love my life though because I can do a lot of things while I’m in my wheelchair. Check out my top tips for kids who are new to wheelchairs. I keep myself busy by doing the things I love. I’m on a baseball team for kids with special needs. I can get to the bases very quickly in my power wheelchair. I’ve traveled to many states and visited a lot of cool places. I enjoyed seeing street-level waterfalls in the mountains of North Carolina and visited amusement parks from Florida to California. I’ve gone camping in the Georgia mountains and have been sightseeing in New York City. I do all of this in my wheelchair. When we travel by plane, I ride my wheelchair up to the door of the plane. The airline workers then take my wheelchair under the plane to the cargo hold and they have it ready for me when we get to my destination. My mom has a wheelchair van which allows me to get around easily as well. I have a lot of friends that think my wheelchair and I are amazing. I play outside in the dirt by finding insects and my friends hold magnifying glasses pretending they are archaeologists. I get to play tag, hide-and-go-seek and cops and robbers with my best friends. And even though I’m in a wheelchair, that doesn’t mean I don’t get in trouble and occasionally punished. My mom and dad lock my wheelchair and put me in timeout when I act up.
There’s a lot of things I can do with my power wheelchair and iLevel and that’s why I like driving it. It makes me feel like I can walk. Sometimes at school people ask me why I am in a wheelchair and I tell them why. Then they say, “Well, I hope everything is okay and I hope you get better.” That’s why I love making new friends because people always tell me it’s going to be okay, even little kids. I motivate kids to challenge themselves and share with them how smart I am. And even though I am in a power wheelchair, nobody can take that away from me.
When I see other kids in wheelchairs I always wonder if they have the same condition I have. One time, I met a kid that was in a wheelchair and he had a different condition than me. He was crying, so I went up to him and asked him why he was crying. He said, “Because I hate being in a wheelchair and it sucks.” I told him, “I know you don’t like being in a wheelchair, but this is our lives right now.”
Sometimes life can be rough but think of and do things that make you happy. Be creative with your abilities and have as much fun as you can. At least you get to chase and race people in your wheelchair and be the fastest around.
About Morgan Steward: Morgan is an honorary police officer for the Covington Georgia Police Department. He lives with his mother, father and two siblings. He is an active member in his community and enjoys helping others. Click here to learn more about Morgan.