Forward Motion

On the Road In Scooters and Wheelchairs




Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 6/2/2009

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 142
ISBN : 9781425114985

About the Book

“Beyond Limitations!” That was the apparent motto of Donald McNeil, a dear friend and exuberant scooter-user. With his scooter in the trunk and oxygen tanks in the back seat, he visited friends near and far, and enjoyed going to parks, the city, and the beach.

After Donald died, I wanted to honor him in some way. Because of him, I became much more aware of people with scooters or wheelchairs. As I watched their varying degrees of confidence and enthusiasm, I was inspired to interview some of them, record what they said, and tell their stories.

I was moved, astonished, and delighted by the stories I heard. The people I interviewed showed me the freedoms and options that their wheels added to their lives. Restrictions were fewer, scooters and power chairs fit in cars and on airplanes, and they could get around on their own!

These stories offer a fresh perspective to those who feel diminished by physical limitations. Equally important, the stories offer a new perspective to those who view the handicapped as diminished. My greatest hope is that all readers will come to see people in scooters and wheelchairs with new eyes and fewer stereotypes.

Forward Motion is a resource full of possibilities for those who are considering (or already use) scooters or electric wheelchairs. Friends and family will also find it helpful.

Finally, the book is another tool for health care professionals to encourage those clients seeking an added measure of freedom and a broader range of possibilities in their lives.

Vehicles and their respective Companies used in these stories:

Action Arrow by Store with seating system by La Bac'; Sidekick and Sun Dancer by Pride; GVP and P300 by Quickie; J9 by Amigo; Colt by Lark; Excel by Pace Saver; Bronco; Forster 2000; Palmer; Electric Mobility.

About the Author

My birthplace is Ann Arbor, Michigan, but I was raised during World War II in upstate New York near Endicott. In my last two years of high school, I had a terrific English teacher, Marion Stearns. She inspired me– though I was oblivious of it at the time– with a love of the English language.

After graduating from Swarthmore College, I married, moved West, and have been in northern California for the last fifty years. As our three children grew up, I returned to school for an RN degree. I worked in orthopedics and inpatient alcohol/drug rehabilitation, followed by a massage practice that I started. I am now retired and no longer married.

My friendship with Donald McNeil began at a county fair. Over time, he became limited in his ability to walk. The acquisition of a scooter was truly a liberating experience for him. He sped here, there, everywhere with great glee.

After he died in 1996, writing about people who use scooters seemed a good way to honor him. I approached people I happened to see who were in scooters. After mentioning that I was writing a book about scooter users, I asked if I could include their personal story. Only one person refused my request.

Before this book, I had never put pen to paper for anything more ambitious than letters or papers for school. With the reckless abandon of a novice, I headed out into new territory. It has been a long and arduous but, ultimately, a most rewarding trip.

I thank family and friends who encouraged me to keep on trekking. I’m also grateful to the amazingly diverse people who allowed me to tape their stories. Now, gentle reader, I pass those generously shared stories on to you.