One of the biggest joys of my life has been watching my brother’s son grow up. He turns four years old on Christmas Day this year, and I can honestly say that seeing him develop into the smart, creative and fearless little guy that he is today has been nothing short of amazing.
I remember thinking for the first few years, when I was still primarily using a manual wheelchair, whether I would ever get to experience playing and interacting with him. Sure, I did as much as I could. When playtime moved to different surfaces or into the yard, however, it became extremely difficult for me to be involved. I would throw a ball or he would bring me things he was playing with but I wasn’t nearly as involved as I liked to be. That was hard sometimes.
When the Quantum® Edge 3 Stretto® narrow wheelchair with iLevel® technology came into my life, it opened up a whole new set of doors for me and what I was able to do with my nephew. Now, I fully immerse myself in most activities with him, and believe me, there is no lack of them! He is a super active kid and is always on the go. When we are together, games range from playing with his toy golf clubs on the grass to going on adventures when he comes to visit me through my “backyard jungle” as he likes to call it (we have a large yard at my house, filled with many trees, plants and vegetables). There is always something new to do, and the Edge 3 Stretto narrow wheelchair has allowed me to feel safe and comfortable going off road and joining in these activities, something that I never imagined a year ago. I love showing him around our vegetable garden and letting him try all sorts of different vegetables (he HATES beans)! He also loves to get in his Power Wheels John Deere Tractor and challenges me to races up and down the driveway or through the yard. He always seems to win! It is a real treat to experience these moments with him, and in doing so, we have developed quite a strong bond. He loves hanging out with Uncle Jared.
Aside from playing games and having fun, it has also been a great opportunity for me to teach him that just because someone uses a wheelchair or power chair, it doesn’t make them any different than himself. Being an inquisitive kid, he is always asking me questions about why I use a power chair, or why I can’t run around like he does. When I answer him, he is always thinking of new or easier ways that I can join him in his fun. He even knows how to use my iLevel feature to make my Stretto go up and down. He absolutely loves the fact that it has a horn and LED fender lights!
I look forward to every chance I get to be with him, and I am so excited and lucky to watch him grow up and be a part of that journey.
About Jared Wayland: Jared is a graphic designer and lives in Ontario, Canada. He uses an Edge 3 Stretto for mobility and enjoys cooking and spending time with his fiancé. Click here to learn more about Jared.