Alittle about Nate & what the Freedom Chair means to him!!
Alittle about Andy Kingsley & what the Freedom Chair means to him!!
"From A Veteran's Perspective"
As a lifelong resident of the North Quabbin area I have always admired the scenic outdoors. I was born with spastic cerebral palsy that affects all four of my limbs. I have used a power wheelchair since the age of five. A few years ago with the help of my twin brother I learned I could kayak independently.
The Freedom Chair will allow me to have an opportunity to enjoy the local hiking trails and just as important to get exercise. After several test drives with the Freedom Chair I am amazed at my ability to move a manual chair. I am excited about the prospect of enjoying the scenic North Quabbin region a whole new way and about the possibility of improving my health through invigorating hikes!
I graduated from UMass Amherst in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in sociology. I work as a coordinator for North Quabbin Citizen Advocacy (NQCA),. NQCA initiates supports and empowers relationships between a person with a mental disability or disorder and an ordinary citizen who matches the interests and needs of their disabled friend. The Freedom Chair is an excellent way to remedy the segregation that is still too frequently experienced by people with disabilities. The freedom chair will allow people of all abilities to hike and enjoy nature together!
I served with the 82nd Airborne Division from 2008-2010. And finished the rest of my contract with the Army at Walter Reed Medical Center. I was artillery. In 2010 I was injured in Afghanistan by an 88mm recoilest rifle round, it took my right leg offinstantly, and I lost my right middle finger and my left big toe, and took shrapnel in my right eye.
So with all these injuries, the Freedom Chair helps me get back out there in outdoor activities, so I can spend more time hiking with people and my son.
What the Freedom Chair means to Nate, from his Mom & Caretaker Sandy:
Hi my name is Sandy Johnson. I am Nate’s mom and caregiver along with his dad Leon. We have lived in Orange all of our lives. Over the years we have looked at different ways Nate could participate in safe activities for fun and exercise. He has participated in horseback riding, wheelchair soccer and kayaking. When we have gone for hikes he has always been pushed in a manual chair or used his power wheelchair. When we went to the Red Apple Farm outing we brought Nate’s walker and he was able to transfer from his power chair to the Grit Freedom Chair without having to be physically lifted. After getting into the Freedom Chair he was able to propel himself independently.
The Grit Freedom Chair really does give him the FREEDOM to move about on his own and thereby getting exercise and having fun at the same time. As the caregiver I can go along and give him a push if he needs it but also know he is safe on his own. Because the chair can be used anywhere in the North Quabbin Region (on a trail, on pavement, on the grass) we do not have to travel off somewhere special to use it. He can get out and participate with other hikers and just be one of the group. I think the Grit Freedom Chair will be a great asset to families with mobility impaired members, the North Quabbin Trail Association and our North Quabbin Region.