My friend, designer and mentor once told me: “the art is yours, take it, and run. I’m just here for the adventure, as you took this to a new level. Thank you is never necessary, it’s just what I do.” It stuck with me. But if you ask him, he’ll tell you I thank him a lot. That’s just what I do. When someone invests in me, the way he has, then it’s the least I can do. He made my Stretto Power Wheelchair art. He took the medical aspect out of it.
What is independence? Is it the same for everyone? No. Every person looks at it from a different view. For me, it’s the view that changed. I went from waist high to eye level. The first thing people do is say hi. They no longer look at me as the woman in the wheelchair. Most are stunned when I raise to their height. I bring my own bar stool, my own salon chair. I don’t need to ask for help to reach for things. I CAN DO IT. It’s liberating. It’s life changing. It’s definitely something that shouldn’t be seen as a luxury. It should be a necessity. Elevated seat height should be a choice for everyone who uses a wheelchair.
More than reach, iLevel gives me a confidence I’ve never seen in myself. I can do things in the community. I can go to the gym to work out. I can advocate for ways I can feel more included, and less like a “have to” for the people I encounter.
My favorite reactions that I receive from my power wheelchair are the ones from kids. They see me rise to give hugs. They see my lights pop on. Some stare with no words in disbelief, and some are so enthralled, that I hear, “Momma, that’s a transformer.” My power wheelchair takes the fear from kids eyes; the fear from how to act around someone who uses a wheelchair.
Because of iLevel, I encountered a new normal five years ago. Now, I don’t want to go through life without it. My purpose is to help others be able to experience it. If speaking about my experiences helps others, then game on.
About Alison Chancellor: Alison is a friend of Quantum. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, where she cheers on her beloved St. Louis Blues at hockey games. Click here to learn more about Alison.