Whill owner case study
Retired retail manager with MS regains feel good factor with WHILL from TGA
Maria, 64 from Cobham who lives with mobility challenges, has been able to continue visiting areas of outstanding natural beauty through ownership of a pioneering WHILL powerchair.
Maria and her husband Dave live in Cobham, Surrey, and are enjoying retirement. Maria previously worked for a well-known high street retail chain and Dave was a senior international executive for a major logistics company. Following 20 years living in Belgium, they moved back to the UK seven years ago, finally deciding to settle in picturesque Surrey. In 2016 Maria was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) which is an unpredictable neurological condition that affect nerves and can restrict movement. Maria uses a walking frame to remain mobile around her home and before ownership of a WHILL she would need to be pushed outdoors in a manual wheelchair. Now Maria is able to enjoy independent mobility on countryside walks thanks to her revolutionary new powerchair.
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TGA Wheelchair Specialist
Maria and Dave discovered WHILL following research online. They were seeking a quality, reliable product that would give peace of mind and did not resemble a traditional mobility vehicle – the WHILL appeared to be the only choice. During the summer of 2017 they attended the final Mobility Roadshow in Stoneleigh where the WHILL was officially launched in the UK. Maria and Dave met with Eric Cooper, TGA Wheelchair Specialist, who provided an initial assessment and gave Maria the opportunity to drive WHILL around a test track.
Maria explains: “We first discovered WHILL at The Mobility Roadshow – it was love at first sight, it was a class apart from anything else available for my needs, especially in terms of manoeuvrability and style. As soon as I sat in WHILL for the first time there was the wow factor! I felt good and said I could live with this.”
Following the initial test-drive Maria was given a free three-day trial with WHILL at home so she could decide whether it was ideal for her lifestyle. Maria was given comprehensive product familiarisation by a TGA WHILL specialist to ensure she gained the most out of her test drive.
This experience confirmed WHILL was the right product for Maria so she and her husband could continue enjoying ‘The Great Outdoors’.
Now a proud owner of a WHILL Maria says: “I find it really easy to use, the mouse control is very responsive and reactive, I can stop immediately if there is any uncertainty or I want to stop and look at something. I love the fact I can spin around on the spot, I am so manoeuvrable. It can cope with outings in the countryside so I do not need an all-terrain or heavy-duty powerchair as that is not the kind of product I want. I can whizz along at top speed through gravel without any problems.”
“WHILL has allowed my husband and I to continue with our outdoor pursuits which includes walking in parks and along riverbanks. I recently visited Chatsworth House and felt in total control without having to rely on anyone to push me in a wheelchair. This was crucial as the corridors there were quite narrow and I had to avoid many priceless exhibits. Also during a holiday in the Peak District we spent time in Bakewell and I tackled the cobbled and uneven streets with ease. My next target is to visit Hampton Court Palace.”
Maria’s WHILL is mainly used for outdoor activities and for convenience is stored in the boot of their MPV. This car is fitted with an Autochair boot hoist so the WHILL can be lifted and lowered without the need for ramps or manual handling. The backrest detaches quickly for simple storage and the powerchair has easily accessible hoisting points.
Maria continues: “The feature that you can slide the seat forward means you don’t have to worry about transferring onto a chair to sit comfortably at a restaurant table. I can stay in my WHILL and not be miles away from the food. This is so much better especially when you are out with friends and family, I see so many people having to be helped in and out of a wheelchair. With my WHILL I have no hassle.”
Maria summaries: “WHILL lets you enjoy activities independently and in a stylish way. I can now visit a shopping mall without feeling awkward or needing to rest because I’ve being using a walking frame. It is simple to access disability facilities such as those at service stations – you can whizz yourself in and out on your own terms.”
“I feel that many other traditional powerchairs look somewhat austere and they make you feel different and labelled. Being labelled as having a disability is the last thing you want, you want people to embrace you. Hence owning a product that looks good is so important. No one would choose to be in a wheelchair so if you have no choice, then you might as well go for one that is funky!”
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