Photo by Layna Hendrich of PhotographyLayn

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Camping From a Wheelchair

One of the highlights of our summers here in Wyoming is camping. We love the outdoors and any chance we get to be up in the mountains. As a wheelchair user, I wondered at first how this would work, but we have made some minor modifications to our cargo trailer to make it accessible and comfortable for us, and it works great!

While there are accessible RVs and campers on the market, they usually come with a huge price tag. Or they aren't quite as accessible as advertised. What we like about our trailer/toy hauler is that it works for camping, but it can be quickly swapped out to haul items as well. The ramp is great for access, and we have box springs and mattresses in the back for sleeping. I have a portable/bedside commode for Addison and I to use, and we have a table set up for our kitchen area. It wouldn't work for everyone, but it is perfect for us.

We usually take our kayaks, fly fishing rods, and/or four wheelers when we go camping. I recorded a short clip of our trailer setup as well as a few minutes of four-wheeling. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Make Some Bubbles- Para Scuba Adventure

Ever since my accident in 1999, I have loved being in the water. There is something very freeing about moving around without boundaries or barriers. Over the last 15 years, I have spent tons of time in different pools, and I have even snorkeled in Maui, but I had always assumed that scuba diving was out of the question. Until I spent some time in the Therapeutic Recreation Department at Craig Hospital. They have teamed up with A-1 Scuba & Travel Aquatics Center to offer adaptive scuba adventures for Craig patients and alumni.

After my last appointment at Craig on Friday afternoon, I headed towards A-1. The owner, Scott, used to be a physical therapist at Craig, and he is passionate about their disabled diver program. I went down the elevator and met the staff before going into the classroom to learn about the equipment I would be using. My main instructor was Joanne, and she (and the rest of the staff) was absolutely amazing.

We used a lift to get me into the pool, and once I was in, we started putting on the equipment. I had been worried about getting in to the wetsuit, but once we were in the water, it wasn't bad at all. We also put on water shoes and knee pads to protect my skin from the floor and walls of the pool. I strapped in to the BC (buoyancy compensator) and air tank before locating my regulator.

We spent the next several minutes adjusting my mask, learning the hand motions we would use to communicate under water, going over the steps to clear your mask when it gets water in it, how to safely descend and surface, etc. before getting accustomed to breathing underwater in the shallow end. Once I was comfortable with these skills, we headed in to the deep end of the pool, and that's when the real fun began. They also have underwater speakers throughout the pool, so it is an awesome sensory experience.

I really can't fully explain what an amazing experience this was, so I am hoping the video helps you to better understand how much fun I had. If you are a person living with a disability, regardless of your level of injury, I encourage you to look into adaptive scuba diving- it will change your life!

Click here to see the video on my YouTube channel, and please subscribe while you are there!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Build A Room Campaign

As many of you know, I had a life-changing experience at Craig Hospital in April. I am so excited to announce that I have teamed up with Craig to promote the "Build A Room" fundraising campaign for the month of July. We will be raising funds to build a private consultation room in the new Outpatient Clinic, and each dollar will be matched up to $50,000, thanks to an anonymous donor who also benefited from Craig's Outpatient Clinic. Please consider supporting this amazing project- every little bit helps and your donation will be doubled! If you or someone you know has been affected by a SCI or TBI, this is the project for you to rally behind and share with your friends and family.
Check out the video we made for the campaign at the link below. Thank you for your support!