Stephanie Woodward is passionate about many things: coffee, cats and even pie! More importantly, Stephanie is passionate about disability rights and making the world accessible and inclusive for those with disabilities.
It’s been 31 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed and there is still more work to do. While continuing the fight for a more accessible world, Stephanie has an important tool in her arsenal: her Stretto Power Wheelchair!
Although she has used power chairs since she was 12 years old, Stephanie felt that many of her previous power chairs were too big for her, until she experienced the Stretto!
“Even when the seat is perfectly fit to me, I just felt larger than I really am. From the first time I sat in a Stretto, I felt like me. I felt like the chair fit me in ways that no other chair has.”– Stephanie Woodward
The Stretto Motorized Wheelchair and Accessibility
With a narrow width of just 20.47 inches, Stephanie can maneuver her Stretto Power Wheelchair easily in small spaces.
“I finally fit into spaces that I should, turn corners the way I should, and turn in circles without fear of hitting or breaking anything,” Stephanie said.
Best of all, Stephanie can now get into her bathroom and turn her power wheelchair while in it.
“I usually had to leave my motorized wheelchair in the hallway and transfer into the bathroom, but now I can fit in with my motorized wheelchair, which is amazing,” Stephanie said. “I can’t tell you how much this has improved my life.”
Plus, Stephanie can now shop in stores more easily. Although the ADA requires stores to have clear pathways with a minimum width of 36 inches, some stores don’t always follow this, Stephanie says. She must then search for an accessible route through the narrow aisles. Thanks to her Stretto motorized wheelchair, Stephanie can maneuver through tight aisles easily to reach the customer service desk.
“Once I get to the desk, I inform them that they’re violating the ADA and need to fix their aisles,” Stephanie said.
The Power of iLevel® Technology
While Stephanie loves the narrow width of her Stretto motorized wheelchair, she also loves elevating at iLevel®. With 12 inches of elevation, Stephanie has greater access to things and can complete daily tasks like watering her hanging plants, cooking meals, transferring into her bed and petting her cats while they’re in the cat tree.
While pursuing her goals for a more inclusive world, Stephanie has turned her focus to empowering girls and women with disabilities. Stephanie founded the Disability EmpowHER Network, which is designed to empower and mentor girls and women with disabilities, helping them to grow and become leaders. Through programs such as Letter from a Role Model and EmpowHER Camp, young girls with disabilities are connecting with successful disabled women and developing their independent living and leadership skills.
In addition to her work with Disability EmpowHER Network, Stephanie serves as a Brand Ambassador Advisor for Quantum, as well as a board member of the New York State Independent Living Council. She works as an organizer with ADAPT and is a member of the National Council on Disability.
Even with such a busy schedule, Stephanie always has time for fun and adventures with her husband, Ryan, and their nieces and nephews. And let’s not forget Rocky and Bullwinkle, their two dogs! No matter where her day takes her, Stephanie knows that the Stretto can handle it all and she can genuinely feel like herself.
“Now that I have a chair that truly fits me, I never want to go back!”