Friday, 23 May 2014

Positive Mental Gratitude.

Off road testing a powerchair with a

difference, Thank you Ian...

1983, I got my first BMX, It was a Raleigh Burner GS.

I was ten years old and not before long I was jumping milk crate ramps, trying out quarter pipes and generally trying silly tricks on my new bike. A rush.

I always had the feeling of wanting to go beyond regular stuff, like any BMX'er or skateboarder will know, you get up and try again and then once more, pushing myself to the limit with a massive amount of determination and I guess now, in hindsight, that has stood me in good stead and helped me deal with Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy.

So I'm now forty years old and disabled with nowhere near as much usage of my limbs as I would like but still have a massive urge for that buzz, I need to do things that excite me and put me on the edge a little.

I recently become an Advocacy Ambassador for The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and at the introduction meeting I met a man called Ian Robinson. Like me, Ian had a neuromuscular condition but a different strain to mine, his is called Vacuolar Myopathy. Also like me I found out that Ian appreciated his time outdoors and after being persuaded by his wife, Emma, invested in a Tramper TWS (Three Wheel Scooter).

The Tramper TWS is a breakthrough in 3-wheel mobility scooters, a very robust off road scooter and after lots of persuasive texts and messages on social media Ian had convinced me to give it a go.

So on the last bank holiday weekend we met at Wendover Woods to give the Tramper it's road test.
I also learnt how Ian's purchase had come about. Like myself, Ian has a very supportive and fantastic wife, it was Emma who got Ian into the tramper, to pursue and keep up the dog walks in the country which is what he loves. 

So first impressions? Well I'll leave that to our Olivia, Aged 8.
I go to Football, Olivia goes too! I go to Motorsport, Olivia goes goes too! I recently tried powerchair football and low and behold Olivia came along.

I knew that Ian would have to park away from the main forest, picnic area due to the tramper being on a trailer, so myself and Olivia just stood waiting for Ian at the top of the wooded area. As Ian rounded the corner  on the tramper Olivia said "Wow! Dad, look at that, that looks cool!" I said "That's Ian, and the cool vehicle is why we're here". Smiles! 

Now it's at this point that I'll tell you of my apprehension. I mentioned earlier about powerchair football, and the feeling I have now is exactly the same, I don't want to get into this chair because I don't need to yet. I'm still in transition from able bodied walking to using apparatus. Contemplating a powerchair does not sit too comfortably with me. Ian knows this feeling really well and totally understands the way I feel.

After some instruction I reluctantly sit on the Tramper and twist the throttle... GO!

I cannot believe it after about 30 seconds I'm buzzing again! With Ian shouting, and waving arms with enthusiasm, encouraging to go further and faster!

Nothing gets in the way of the Tramper!
 After Ian's encouragement that is exactly what I did, I know this forest very well as it's where I grew up and played since a child. I took the tramper through a heavily wooded area which I knew came out at a very populated, green family area. As I emerged from the forest, over a very muddy hill there was goals missed, a Frisbee not caught and jaws dropped.

Lots of people were very impressed with what they saw and I was extremely proud to be the one riding it.
"Let's have a go mate?" was the cry. Chuffed!

Sadly, it was time to get back to Ian and the rest of the family and I was on top of the world, I hadn't had this feeling for a long time, I couldn't stop smiling and still now, I'm very grateful that Ian gave me that opportunity.

Thank you Ian.

Finally, what did Olivia think? Had I given my daughter a positive impression? Should I sit back or should I get out there and enjoy these opportunities able bodied or not? Was she happy, proud?

Just look at her face...

You can follow me @HywoodMartin , Ian @imdambassador and the Muscular Dystophy Campaign @targetMD on Twitter.



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  2. Hey Martin, I know your post was over 4 years ago now but I just came across it and wanted to let you know how much it made me smile. Did you get yourself a Tramper TWS in the end? Have just placed an order for mine and I can't wait to get back out there. I am only 45 and, like you, the biggest obstacle for me was my insecurities about needing to use one in the first place and what other people might think. When I showed a picture of the TWS to my 13 year old, her response was "Whoah, that's looks cool! Can I use it?"