What International Wheelchair day means to me

Today is International Wheelchair Day 2015, this is the 8th year of what has become an annual celebration “when wheelchair users celebrate the positive impact a wheelchair has on their lives”.

The day was started by Steve Wilkinson and his website explains that “the aims of International Wheelchair Day are:

  • To enable wheelchair users to celebrate the positive impact a wheelchair has in their lives.
  • To celebrate the great work of the many millions of people who provide wheelchairs, who provide support and care for wheelchair users and who make the World a better and more accessible place for people with mobility issues.
  • To acknowledge and react constructively to the fact there are many tens of millions of people in the World who need a wheelchair, but are unable to acquire one.”

Yesterday I spent the day volunteering with Go Kids Go  who provide wheelchair skills training to young wheelchair users.  The difference that not only a wheelchair, but also the skills to use it, make to a disabled person’s life simply cannot be underestimated. Two words offerred by young people yesterday which have stuck in my mind are ‘independence’ but perhaps more importantly (especially for young people) ‘fun’!

There was also a child there yesterday who was recently able to start school only because Go Kids Go were able to loan them a suitable wheelchair.  No wheelchair = no school.  Although there are many people in other countries struggling due to a lack of wheelchairs, this is also a problem impacting people on our own doorstep in the UK and, for this child in particular, there is now another very important word, ‘education’.

Happy International Wheelchair Day!