This wheelchair raises and lowers so I can be at eye level–not looked down on. It levels the playing field.

May 18, 2024

“I have multiple sclerosis. I was diagnosed in 2007 and have gone from using a cane to a walker to a wheelchair. All are instruments that help me stay involved and get where I want to go. This wheelchair raises and lowers so I can be at eye level–not looked down on. It levels the playing field.

I now understand more about wheelchair accessibility. Something may say wheelchair accessible, but then I have to open a ten-pound door to get in. Or the seat is too low to get up and off. Tons of locations claiming to be accessible, aren’t very accessible.

My wife, some friends, and I started Branches of Life ten years ago in Richmond, VA. We provide services for individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism, finding life plans that work for them. We also provide community engagement, taking our service users to movies, lakes, and parks. They go bowling and fishing and do what everyone else does.

I’m reading Worthy: How to Believe You Are Enough and Transform Your Life. Sometimes it’s a struggle believing I’m worthy because the world doesn’t always make me feel that way.  I’ve learned there’s a difference between self-confidence and self-worth. Self-confidence is what you show the world and how you approach it; self-worth is loving yourself for who you are. Being in a wheelchair, being gay, or a being woman doesn’t define me. I am me. That’s what I want the world to see.”

Shirley

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