The Elevation comes to life
I'm a three time Paralympic Gold Medalist in wheelchair basketball with Team Canada. I'm a lazy amputee who uses a wheelchair instead of prosthetics. Haha, which one sounds better?! The truth is, I've always had a love/hate relationship with prosthetics. I have a lot of scar tissue on my stumps (car accident, 1989) and a comfortable fit has proven elusive.
But wheelchairs have given me nothing but love since the beginning. Whether it was keeping up with my friends or playing wheelchair basketball, a chair with wheels was never a sign of weakness to me, but a means of strength, freedom, creativity, and joy.
Over 30 years of playing ball, I've been blessed to have played in some of the best sports chairs ever made. (My latest, the Elite by RGK, may be the best one yet. )
I've had great day chairs too, but they've always been a bit more ho-hum. If it's light, it fits well, and the tires have air in them, great. Let's go. That is, until the Elevation by PDG Mobility.
The Elevation sprung from the mind and experience of one my best friends and teammates (and fellow gold medallist) Jaimie Borisoff. It was a fascinating privilege to watch him take the concept of a wheelchair that lifts up and down as quickly and effortlessly as an office chair, without sacrificing anything but a little weight, and make it a reality. The chair is now in its second iteration, and the world of mobility is an even more rich and innovative place for it. A new paradigm has come to life.
As a T4 paraplegic working in spinal cord research, I doubt that Jaimie was imagining an amputee user when he designed the chair. But even though I have more functional ability than most paras and quads, the most obvious candidates for this chair, it's been a huge blessing to me. Here's my playlist:
- reaching the cereal on the top shelf
- reaching the pacifier that's fallen on the floor
- seeing over and through crowds at concerts
- rising up to eye level in conversation with standing folks
- elevating to encourage better posture (it's hard to slouch when elevated)
- sitting lower to save my shoulders on a hill climb
- sitting lower if I'm carrying something on my lap, so that it doesn't slide off
And that's just a small sample, which doesn't include many therapeutic benefits that an adjustable seating position provides. I'm amazed at the possibilities this chair opens up.
Is it cliche to say that Jaimie has made the world a better place for wheelchair users? Well, it's true. I'm so proud of him.