How My Mobility Aid Gave Me the Gift of Liberty

  • By Andra Shephard
  • •  May 24, 2022

Reading time:2.5 minutes

My mobility aid gave me the gift of liberty

I’ve had Multiple Sclerosis for 20 years, and for too long I was terrified of the prospect of “ending up” in a wheelchair. MS is a vicious disease, but I’ve learned that mobility aids are not the enemy I once believed them to be.

No help to figure out the best mobility aid for me

There’s no roadmap to the confusing landscape of mobility aids, and many of us are left to figure out what devices we need on our own. Before I needed a cane, a rollator, and sometimes a wheelchair, I only had negative things to believe about what using mobility aids would say about me. As my MS progressed and my walking became weaker and slower, I thought my worst fears were realised when it came time to start exploring the intimidating world of mobility aids.

When it comes to mobility aids, looks do matter

With a heavy heart I ventured to the medical supply shop in search of my first rollator. To my surprise, I discovered the Rollz Motion - a rollator that converts to a transport chair. It seemed to be designed for someone with MS who can walk, but who, when fatigued, would benefit from sitting and being pushed. I had no idea such a brilliant device existed. I was excited by the functionality of it, but most impressed by its aesthetic. This device looked more sporty than medical, and came in a cool, ice-blue colour. This was a mobility aid I could feel good about.

Andra Shephard Story

Freedom to hike with my husband once more

I first invested in a Rollz Motion for travel, but quickly found myself using it for all kinds of activities. I used it as a rollator to walk my dog, and as a rollator/transport chair for longer days shopping or visiting a museum. Last summer I upgraded to the Rollz Motion Performance and, for the first time in years, my husband and I were able to go on hiking trails together. The ‘off-road’ pneumatic tyres of the Rollz Motion Performance have opened up more difficult terrain to me. When the pandemic is over, I can’t wait to visit Paris and its beautiful cobblestoned streets, something that would be less comfortable to walk across without air tyres.

Different aids for different days

Before my MS progressed, I didn’t understand the concept of ‘different aids for different days’. Sometimes I need a cane, sometimes a rollator; sometimes I need to be off my feet entirely. It seems obvious now, but I didn’t know I could be an ambulatory wheelchair user. Even if someday I do need a wheelchair full-time, I realise that wheelchair use is not the end. Far from it. Mobility aids don’t limit us, they liberate us.

Andra Shephard Story

Slowed but not stopped: sad but not ashamed

It’s okay to grieve and feel sad when MS changes how we move, but no matter which mobility aid we choose, we shouldn’t feel ashamed or stigmatised by the tools that help us live. MS might slow me down, but I won’t be stopped. I’m thankful for the devices that look great and keep me moving.

Ardra Shephard

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