The Challenge of Family Gatherings, Access and My Quantum Power Wheelchair

green plants on white concrete staircase
Photo by Lina Kivaka on

Thanksgiving is a time for family gatherings. For wheelchair users, that can be an accessibility nightmare. Many families host their Thanksgiving dinners at houses with steps. To be a part of the celebration, wheelchair users must be carried into the house or pushed around in transport chairs because they left their mobility equipment at home. Many times, attendant care workers will not come with you to a holiday gathering because your family lives too far away or because they want to be with their own families on Thanksgiving. So, we’re stuck, completely dependent on our families while celebrating togetherness. Every Thanksgiving I spend with my family, I leave my Quantum Power Wheelchair at home and I really miss having it.

Why My Quantum Power Wheelchair is Important to Me

Many people in my family have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome like I do, but I’m the only one that’s considered “disabled” because I use a wheelchair. Without my chair, family members must help me up the steps or lift me from my seat, and both my mother and aunt have been injured from trying to help me. With my Stretto Power Chair, I do not require much assistance, thanks to iLevel® technology. I have so much independence. I won’t tell anyone how to live their lives, but I feel things would be easier for everyone if accessibility was valued as much as tradition.

Enjoying an Accessible Thanksgiving with Friends

All the Thanksgiving celebrations I have been to that were accessible to my power wheelchair were “Friendsgiving” parties thrown by my wheelchair user friends and myself in our apartments. We enjoy coming together to celebrate and give thanks for the community that we’ve made. I think it’s really important to remind ourselves that we aren’t burdens and outcasts just because we use mobility equipment, especially life-changing equipment that can’t be carried up the steps.

Reasons Why I Am Thankful

I am very thankful for my Stretto Power Chair with iLevel. It is the only seat I can comfortably remain in for long periods and without extra pain. I can carry heavier things while using it, cook, and participate in events without needing much assistance. And during an important holiday like Thanksgiving, that means a lot.

Anomie Fatale: Anomie is a musician who performs at shows and open mic nights in Philadelphia. She is the current titleholder for Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania USA 2022 and is passionate about helping others. Click here to learn more about Anomie.

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