tiistai 15. elokuuta 2017

Belinda's story

Dear Chasswheel, you bring me where my mind wants to go 

Hi, my name is Belinda Monteran Leinonen (32), I live in Tønsberg, the oldest town in Norway which lies one hour south of Oslo. My father is from Finland Äänekoski, and my mother is from Grenada, Carribian. So  this makes me a Norwegian with finish and Grenadian heritage. Does that sound familiar? I would guess no.

I am born with a rare syndrome called Nail Patella Syndrome ( NPS), which is an atosoma dominat disorder that affects 1 in 50 000 people, and some spontaneously. Because of this, I got a lot of ortopedic and nerve related issues. For example I didn't know that I lacked kneecaps before I was 30 year old, so it's possible to live without, I guess. I have a bachelor degree in Information Systems and Innovation.I graduated at Vestdold University Collage in 2015, and have started a small IT-business where I work as an freelance IT-instructor and support for other companies.

One day this summer I went to the hospital for an eye-check. When I arrived, an old lady was so amazed when she saw my electric wheelchair, the Chasswheel. She studied it from top to bottom, and I saw her face turn into a big questionmark. She asked in a polite and gentle way, - with this you must have a new life? Yes, I answered. And at the same time, I was thinking of the word freedom and how much the word means.

We can take a lot for granted, but not our freedom. In my years on this planet, the amount of freedom I have had, have varied greatly. And pain have been a greater part of my life than I am willing to admit. In the first four years of my life, I did not walk. But when I finally did, I ran. So I ran for for a long time, and now, not so much. Maybe I will again someday, maybe not. I really don't think too much about the future, instead choosing to focus on the present: Where I am right now, in this moment, and not focusing on time. It feels like the world stops for a moment. It feels like I can take back the time I have lost. Some days I'm just lost and pain surrounds my every movement. Its like losing my freedom to be myself.

But what is freedom?

For me the meaning of the word have changed.  For me, the word freedom is to be self- reliant and to experience less pain and accepting my situation. I think the acceptance part is the most difficult one, but I have accepted who I am and why I need help aids like the Chasswheel -  to be me. With acceptance, freedom comes naturally.

Now I really don't care if someone looks strangely at me. It's difficult to be invisible, I am so noticeable anyway. And now I understand that people really gives a shit. Finally I'm free. For this moment I am. For a while.

I feel like the word is divided into layers. Some happy layers, some dark, some moody and they change all the time. And with every start, there must be an end-station. Everything ends, and I find comfort in this. All the feelings we experience will eventually pass. If we are sad, it will pass, if we are hurt it will pass. I know that when Im seeing blue, it magically turns pink in the end.

I was spending 9 days in Sweden for my holiday this summer, without the Chasswheel. My head was traveling everywhere, but I was stuck. Like seeing a thing but you cant touch it. When pain is surrounding my every movement. When I am dependent on another human. I feel so tiny and vulnerable and get so tired, of just being me. Like a soldier without a horse. What  I am really describing is my past life-When I thought nothing was possible. Now everything is. Chasswheel is now a part of my everyday life in almost every aspect. Thank you Chasswheel for making it possible to travel where ever my mind wants to go.

 Belinda Monteran

tiistai 27. kesäkuuta 2017

Wheels of Freedom

On Mother's Day it started, an unusual journey from Oulu to Tallinn. Traveling to Tallinn is not so unusual, but traveling there by electric wheelchair makes it extraordinary! 

Ville Jaaranto left towards Tallinn by riding his Four X. Journey was long, so some specifications to his chair were needed. Coffee is pretty important when traveling long periods on the road. As you can see from the picture below, Ville was well prepared for this trip. Ville had an assisting group with him, which helped him to succeed in his journey.

Distance travelled from Oulu to Tallinn was about 600 km. It took 3,5 weeks to travel, so it is on average about 30 km per day!

When the journey started, Ville and his team had even more ambitious goal. They were going to travel all the way to Lisbon. The problem was with the car that the assisting team had bought for the journey. There were lots of small problems with it, which eventually piled as too large problem to continue the journey. Ville and his group have said that they are probably going to try again next year.

Ville had lots of publicity and Yle is going to make a movie about his journey. Movie is supposed to be published in spring 2018. From Facebook his journey can be found by name Wheels of Freedom. There you can find more pictures and posts on the road.

The journey was made to support the rights of disabled people. It was also encouraging and perfect example of how dreams can be achieved.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wheelsoffreedommovie/?fref=ts

sunnuntai 18. kesäkuuta 2017

Summer is finally here (in Finland)

Finland is one of the coldest countries in the world. At winters, the outside temperature might be even – 30 C°. We have lots of snow and ice at winters, which makes living sometimes more difficult. Our previous blogpost was about coping with winter, but now it is gladly not time to think about those snowy, cold and dark winter mornings, because it is SUMMER! 

Finnish summer is very beautiful, as you can see from these pictures I took when I was hiking last weekend with my friend. Lakes and untouchable nature are the absolute strengths of Finland. In my opinion, going out to the nature is one of the most relaxing things you can do. Fresh air and quiet environment makes it possible to clear your thoughts and reload your brains for the upcoming days and challenges. With Four X it is fortunately possible to go to the nature easily and enjoy it's benefits.

Our hike included riding paths at the forest while listening birds singing. It was a beautiful day so we took many pictures, which I am going to post here later. After about an hour of hiking, we took a break next to the lake and ate some snacks and drank coffee. What could be better? When the break was over, we rode back to the city and finished our day by eating ice cream at the centrum of Kuopio.

It would be fun and interesting to see how you are enjoying your summertime. If you want to, you can send your own post about your summer day. I could then post it here so we all could have new inspiration to summer days and see what it is like in different countries! 
You could send your post to: mywheelchairlife@gmail.com

Great summer to everyone!


Kuten me kaikki suomalaiset tiedämme, talvella on kylmä. Viime talvenakin useaan otteeseen pimeänä aamuna – 30 asteen pakkasessa tuli väistämättä ajatuksia tulevasta kesästä. Mutta hei, nyt se kesä on vihdoinkin täällä!!! Juhannuskin jo kolkuttelee ovella.

Suomen kesä on todella kaunis, kauniimpi kuin aina muistammekaan. Suomessa on ainutlaatuinen luonto, sillä se on suurimmilta osin koskematonta ja puhdasta. Lukuisat järvet ja tunturit ovat poikkeuksellisia etuisuuksia maailmanlaajuisestikin. Four X:n avulla on onneksi mahdollista nauttia luonnosta vaivattomasti. Nämä kuvat otin viime viikonloppuna ollessani luontoretkellä ystäväni kanssa. Kuvat otin retken loppuvaiheessa kun olimme palanneet jo kaupunkiin.

Retkellämme kuljimme luontopolkuja ihaillen maisemia ja kuunnellen lintujen laulua. Keli oli todella hyvä, joten otimme lukuisia kuvia, joita tulen myös täällä julkaisemaan. Noin tunnin retkeilyn jälkeen pidimme tauon, jolloin söimme eväitä ja joimme kahvia järven rannalla. Onko mitään parempaa?Tauon jälkeen aloimme palaamaan takaisin kaupunkiin päin. Viimeistelimme retken jäätelöllä Kuopion keskustassa 

Olisi mahtavaa jos kertoisitte omasta kesäpäivästänne! Voisitte esimerkiksi ottaa päivästä pari kuvaa ja kirjoittaa lyhyesti miten päivän olette viettäneet. Jos lähetätte kuvat ja kirjoituksen minulle, voisin sitten täällä julkaista, jolloin me kaikki voisimme saada inspiraatiota kesäpäiviimme! 
Kuvat ja kirjoituksen voi lähettää: mywheelchairlife@gmail.com

Mahtavaa kesää teille kaikille!

keskiviikko 18. tammikuuta 2017

5 tips to cope with winter on a wheelchair

Winter can be a really difficult time to anyone driving a wheelchair and no matter if you drive manual or electric wheelchair. Snow is the pain in the ass, no matter how positively you think. Sometimes when you look outside the window in the morning you just decide to stay in, because there has been snowing 5 centimeters last night - too much effort! So how do you cope with winter if you decide to go out?

1. Get a proper winter tires

With a proper winter tires you can drive anywhere safely. Pneumatic tires prevent you getting slip on icy road or getting stuck into snow.

2. Put warm clothes on

It is wise to make sure you are warm! Head and hands get cold fastest to wear decent gloves and winter hat. Keep extra gloves and wool socks with you and layer clothing to keep your body warm all the time. Try to get comfortable and also remember to take a blanket with you.

3. Take care of you safety

Have fully charged batteries in as well as in your wheel and also you mobile phone. Keep a buddy or assistant with you during these winter months to have extra set of helping hands during winter months. Snow can stress anyones life so it is not good to be alone.

4. Plan extra time

Going places can take extra time, especially when it is a proper snow storm. Take also into consideration the time to dress up and all the other normal daily activities which take longer because of the snow. Make sure the wheelchair will not slide and brakes are locked while transportations. Plan ahead and take into consideration extra layers, extra traffic, extra steps -and extra time.

5. Buy yourself a mobility solution, which works!

Don't just stay at home! Figure out solutions, which are available and invest some money be able to live the way you want! Don't mind about restriction and dare to do all exiting things in life. Have a courage and find freedom to live and experience!
With Four X you are not able to only drive in  winter -you can also clear the whole front yard of the snow! (snowplough is an extra equipment)
This lovely pink Four X is capable even go up gently sloping stairs -not to mention slopes in winter! Get a wheelchair, which does not stuck into snow
Find the best suitable Four X product for you! www.chasswheel.com
www.fourx.fi / more info about Four X products

tiistai 24. marraskuuta 2015

Photographer Veli-Matti Lehtinen tells about his life in wheelchair

Veli-Matti got CP injury during his birth, because he could not get enough oxygen. Luckily he thinks the injury has not influenced too much to his life and Veli-Matti is a regular person, who uses a wheelchair in mobility. "Ofcourse there are some challenges in life of having a CP injury and not the least of them is people's attitude, which varies quite much. For example if someone stranger calls to my mobile, he/she may end up the phone call, when I am trying to ask what this person wants to talk about. Caller may not understand that assistant person is helping me and I am not able to speak myself. Except I am able to say the word 'no'. Once when I was out without my assistant and only using handsfree, one friend of mine learned to speak with me by asking yes and no questions and I answered no or stayed silent when I meant to say 'yes'. Sometimes if I am very nervous when someone stranger is calling and then even the word 'no' does not come out my mouth."

For journal sellers Vel-Matti says sometimes a very strict 'NO!', especially if they try to sell something. Nowadays mostly assistants answer his phone, because he lives in his own apartment. Veli-Matti communicates through Bliss-symbols, but communication is not the biggest challenge but the attitude towards diversity is. "Sometimes people think that I am hearing impaired and speak to my assistant instead of me and when I try to make new friends, they may look at me like something cheap and leave. So they are not interested, but children come to talk to me and they are very curious. Adults are not." tells Veli-Matti.

If he could change something in this world, Veli-Matti would give everyone a possibility to live at home and not in hospital or some institution, because that affects directly for growing as an adult mentally if someone is always making decisions for you. That is the reason why assistant should also not to take control over an adult person's life. " Medical staff may say that falling in love and finding a girlfriend is not something which will happen in your life and definitely sex is not a part of you life, because of the disability." Veli-Matti thinks these thing belong to everyones life and medical staff should be more supportive in finding a partner, because traditional marriage is the most natural thing in peoples lives." (Check the Charity calendar campaign for equality) When Veli-Matti turned 15 became a Christian, which has helped him in difficult times in life. "I personally recommend religion to everyone, because Jesus is important friend for me."

Veli-Matti tells it is important to find the personal assistant, who's with is easy to cooperate and if communication does not work for some reason, that should be able to switch to someone else. Ofcourse the termination of employment needs to be done carefully that the assistant finds a job first. It is important to be able to speak about everything that disability services will not come between immediately. Assistants should consider that which kind person would be the best for this person that the personal chemistry works best. Bad chemistry can have effects on employers health and wellbeing so it is a serious matter, because the situation can go even that far that employer considers a suiside, if he/she does not find a way out of the situation. "I think it is important to talk about these things, because there are many people in difficult situation and they do not try to solve it themselves or dare to talk about it. They settle and have no idea what it is to cooperate with assistant who's with communication works." 

Veli-Matti loves to take beautiful photos and he started his hobby at the age of 25 with special equipped Four X with built in camera stand. His favorite shots are challenging for example photos against the light and the good camera with decent functions is needed. His favorite objects are lake sceneries, people, flowers, close-ups and different details. Here are few photos taken by Veli-Matti:

keskiviikko 7. lokakuuta 2015

Veli-matti Lehtisen mielestä vamma ei saa vaikuttaa normaaliin elämään

Veli-Matti sai CP-vamman synnytyksen yhteydessä, koska hän ei saanut riittävästi happea. Hänen mielestään vamma ei ole vaikuttanut suuresti elämään ja hän kokee olevansa tavallinen ihminen, joka käyttää pyörätuolia. "Vamma ei saa vaikuttaa elämään ja haluan elää normaalia elämää, kuten terveet ihmiset". kertoo Veli-Matti. Elämä CP-vamman kanssa on silti joskus haastavaa ja ihmisten suhtautuminen vaihtelee hyvin paljon. "Esimerkiksi jos joku vieras ihminen soittaa minulle, hän saattaa lopettaa puhelun kun minä yritän kysyä mitä asiaa hänellä on. Soittaja ei ehkä ymmärrä, että avustaja auttaa minua, enkä voi puhua suulla itse. Toisaalta taas yksi ystäväni oppi puhumaan kanssa, kun olin ulkona ilman avustajaa ja käytin handsfree:tä. Pystyn sanomaan yhden sanan ja se on 'ei'. Kun taas olin hiljaa niin se tarkoitti 'kyllä'. Kun joku vieras ihminen soittaa niin minua saattaa hieman jännittää ja silloin tuo sana ei tule."

Lehtimyyjille Veli-Matti saattoi aikaisemmin sanoa hyvin tiukastikin 'EI!', varsinkin jos he yrittivät myydä jotakin. Nykyisin avustajat vastaavat puhelimeen, sillä hän asuu nykyisin omassa asunnossa. Veli-Matti puhuu bliss-symbolien avulla, mutta kommunikointi ja ymmärtäminen ei ole suurin haaste, vaan ihmisten suhtautuminen erilaisuuteen.  "Välillä jotkut ihmiset luulevat etten kuule ja he puhuvat avustajalle eikä minulle. kun minä yritän saada uusia ystäviä niin he saattavat katsoa minua kuin jotain halpaa tavaraa ja lähtevät pois. Eivät ole kiinnostuneita. Mutta lapset tulevat kyllä ja ovat uteliaita ja kiinnostuneita! Aikuisia ei kiinnosta." kertoo Veli-Matti.

Veli-Matti haluaisi muuttaa maailmassa sen, että kaikilla olisi mahdollisuus asua kotona, eikä sairaaloissa ja laitoksissa. Hänen mukaan näissä instituutioissa eläminen vaikuttaa henkiseen kasvuun ja on hyvin hankalaa kasvaa aikuiseksi, jos joku on aina päättämässä asioita puolestasi. Avustajan pitäisi myös olla puuttumatta aikuisen ihmisen elämään ja asioihin. "Hoitohenkilökunta saattaa sanoa, ettei rakastuminen ja tyttöystävän löytäminen kuulu sinun elämääsi. Ja varsinkaan seksiä ei saa harrastaa." Veli-Matin mielestä hoitohenkilökunnan tulisi huomioida, että nämä asiat kuuluvat jokaisen ihmisen normaaliin elämään. He voisivat keskustella esimerkiksi naimisiin menemisestä ja jopa auttaa kumppanin löytämisessä, sillä perinteinen avioliitto on maailman luonnollisin asia" (Ks. Kalenteri-kampanja asian puolesta). Kun Veli-Matti täytti 15 hän tuli kristityksi, mikä on auttanut paljon elämän vaikeina aikoina. "Suosittelen kaikille ja Jeesus on tärkeä ystävä minulle". 

Veli-Matin mielestä on myös tärkeää löytää oikeanlainen avustaja, joka on sellainen ihminen, jota hän tarvitsee. Pitäisi myös olla mahdollista vaihtaa avustajaa, mikäli yhteistyö ei suju jostakin syystä. Toki irtisanominen tulee hoitaa niin että avustaja löytää ensin itselleen toisen työpaikan, eikä irtisanoa työsuhdetta heti. On tärkeää pystyä keskustelemaan asioista, niin ettei vammaispalvelu tule heti väliin. Avustajien olisi tärkeää pohtia, millaisen henkilön työnantaja tarvitsee, eikä vain katsoa pikkutarkasti mitä työsopimukseen on kirjoitettu, mikäli henkilökemiat eivät yksinkertaisesti toimi. Tällainen tilanne voi mennä liian pitkälle, jolloin huono henkilökemia vaikuttaa työnantajan hyvinvointiin ja henkilö voi jopa alkaa suunnitella itsemurhaa, koska ei löydä muuta ulospääsyä. ”Mielestäni tästä aiheesta on tärkeää puhua, koska on monia jotka ovat hankalassa tilanteessa. He eivät yritä ratkaista tilannetta ja kokevat olevansa alemmassa asemassa, eivätkä siksi uskalla puhua asiasta. Nämä henkilöt pitävät tilannettaan täysin normaalina, koska eivät tiedä millaista yhteistyö voi olla sellaisen avustajan kanssa, jonka kanssa yhteistyö oikeasti toimii. ” 

Veli-Matti harrastaa valokuvausta ja hän aloitti rakkaan harrastuksensa 25-vuotiaana. Veli-Matin lempikuvauskohteet ovat haastavia ja hän kuvien ottamisesta esimerkiksi vastavalossa, johon tarvitaan hyvä kamera useine toimintoineen. Hänen lempikuvauskohteita ovat järvimaisemat, ihmiset, kukat, erilaiset lähikuvat ja yksityiskohdat. Tässä on muutamia Veli-Matin ottamia valokuvia.

tiistai 15. syyskuuta 2015

Fashionable wheelchair women don't play with rules.

We are all similar and all so different people in our personalities and willing or not willing to represent that in style. Why would wheelchair users show any less fashionable than walking people? May be one reason is that it is slightly harder to find nice and comfortable clothes. IZ Adaptive Clothing for wheelchairs manufactures amazing clothes for wheelchair users, which do not wrinkle while and look the best while sitting unlike other clothes. Metro article about 10 ways to stay stylish gives great tips with a proper fashion attitude by ignoring the rules, because fashion is all about the personality and the person wearing it! And do not forget all the lovely accessories, like Olivia Palermo says: "style is all about accessories."
These comfortable jeans look great while sitting
Fashionable biker jacket for wheelchair users
Wheelchair fashion icon Jillian Mercado, who is a model in Diesel advertisements, writes about style, trends and fashion events in her blog manufactured1987. Her amazing photos about her in photoshoots, wedding gowns and lipsticks make every women willing to improvise with make up and outfits. New Yorker Magdalena writes funny and entertaining blog Prettycripple.com and I loved the last post about dating tips for women! She also shares wild ideas for scarfs, hats and necklaces. Wheelchair Mommy also loves fashion, make up and just recently changed her hairstyle for fashionable short style from long one. Pricilla is a mother of three boys and a husband Charlie and she blogs about everyday life with her family. She just bought a lovely pink and metal color iPhone.
Wheelchair Mommy's pink and metal color IPhone as accessory
Diesel advertisement with Jillian Mercado
What if the wheelchair would be fashionable describing your lifestyle like all the other accessories? It is actually the most visible accessory, which also often seems to define a person in the eyes of certain people. Why not to disrupt them a little bit? Have a little bit of an attitude and become visible in the eyes of all the people. Shock people with Chasswheel's cool Four X multifunctional wheelchair, which you can even go up some stairs and stand while driving!! Go to clubbing by standing or to an cocktail event and speak to people on the same height as them and be more self-confident as you have ever been. Colourswheelchair sells manual wheelchairs with different colors and abilities like trendy camouflage or any color fitting to persons style.
Relaxed autumn fashion with boots, Louis Vuitton bag and the pink Four X wheelchair for snow, soft sand and even stairs.
Camouflage manual wheelchair for all terrain use
My tips for all wheelchair women who are willing to express themselves with fashion are: dare to be visible, play with colors, find your own style, wear what is comfortable and be confident. Happy and fashionable autumn and here is a song for all the brave women :)


Belinda's story

Dear Chasswheel, you bring me where my mind wants to go  Hi, my name is Belinda Monteran Leinonen (32), ...