What a month it has been. Pretty much all of our events that were due to take place on dates during the pandemic lockdown got rescheduled to this month so you can imagine just how busy it has been. We’ve had theatre shows, holidays, another trip to the Warner Bros Studio Tours The Making Of Harry Potter, this time the Halloween Dark Arts Celebration (cobbled Diagon Alley is so fun in a wheelchair… I forget how much cobbles make you shake but I guess its all part of the fun right?), and everything in between like my modelling/acting, getting to spend time with friends and special Birthdays - now that it is possible to do all of this! Naturally, masks and precautions still in place. Of course, my trusty Whill has accompanied me on all of these events which is amazing to think in itself! If these occasions had taken place on their original date, I wouldn’t have had my Whill with me. One of the events where my power chair had the biggest difference and impact is on our family holiday to Centre Parcs at the beginning of this month.
This weekend get away had been rescheduled multiple times to the point it felt like it was never going to happen but when it finally did, it was worth the wait. Centre Parcs is a place that holds so many memories, I celebrated my first birthday there and we’ve returned every year since. We’ve grown up there. It is definitely a family favourite. When I was a kid I was able to do everything I wanted but after my condition came into my life when I was 10, my ability to do things changed therefore affecting how me and my family are able to do things there. Sure, there are some things that I cannot do but one incredible change that has been brought about thanks to my Whill is the ability to join my family on a bike ride altogether - something we have not been able to do since I became a wheelchair user when I was 14. That feeling was pretty special and it opened the park back up to us. I loved that feeling. I loved the feeling of being independent and in control of where I go in a place that held such fun and freedom to me as a kid. It really is the little things that counts the most like getting to share something with my family once again, something that was a regular outing for us. We even added a set of bike lights to the front of my chair for the outings later on in the day when it got dark and it looked so fun, like I had my own set of headlights. It worked so well attaching them to my chair, it was just what I needed and they fitted perfectly without looking out of place. It definitely helped me see where I was driving too which is always a huge bonus. Another bonus is in the ability of not having to worry about running out of battery. The Whills battery capacity is outstanding, it has the capability to do full days out and barely use half a full charge. It gives me that freedom and piece of mind to just drive around on whatever terrain knowing full well I’m not going to run out of battery or be left stuck somewhere. It holds its battery better than I hold my own! It also charges up super quickly too. Getting a spare battery is not needed with this chair, it has all the power you need to go on any adventure you want.
This holiday was so needed. In this place you really could be anywhere and you get lost in the environment and gorgeous scenery. Autumn was also certainly showing her colours. On one of the nights we got dressed up and went out for dinner at a restaurant whilst we could see the sun setting through the big glass walls, it was gorgeous. We followed the meal by strolling through a little woodland walk-through that was all lit up with colour changing lights and the whole vibe and mood of that small place was just so heartwarming. We finished the night with some stargazing between the tree tops. If you’ve never been to a Centre Parcs before, it is lodges set up in the midst of woodland. There’s a big subtropical swimming centre in the heart and many more activities, plus restaurants you can visit whilst there. We made the most of our time there with a little swimming, a spa trip, bowling, lots of good food, bike rides and one of my favourite activities, crossbow. What may be surprising knowledge is that I’m actually pretty good with a crossbow. I even got the best shot of the day, a perfect bullseye and me and my sister as a team kept winning the game rounds. It’s just a lot of fun, the whole place is. The ground surface for the crossbow was that kind of chipped wood/bark so not the easiest terrain but once again my chair did a fabulous job of handling it. It did need a slight push when I drove into the corner and needed to turn back around to get out but with just a little assistance from my Dad I was able to get grip and turn around. Drove in and out with no problems, just that bit of turning in the thicker material stuff needed a little extra but it did better than I thought, as always. The staff was also impressed with how it managed to handle everything and with its look too. There was a woman who we saw whilst we were out and about on our bike ride who was also a wheelchair user and as I drove past her she said, “that’s what I need!”. With my Whill, its always smooth sailing. I can fully and truly rely on it which gives me the confidence to just go out and enjoy everything. It always feel so comfortable knowing my chair has truly got my back and if I need to try different terrain, it will always give me its best shot so that I’m able to just go with it and live a little more which is pretty awesome.
My Mum couldn’t stop smiling and commenting on the fact that my Whill has brought a whole different vibe and energy to this holiday. This chair doesn’t just make a huge difference to my life but to the lives of the closest people around me. Not that I need proof but if I did, this mini break away is certainly proof of how everybody experienced the time away. I was independent, I could “walk” next to them and get around everywhere and oh, what a feeling that was. Such joy and empowerment in those moments. More gorgeous memories to add to the bank.
There’s one thing for sure and that is when I’m in my Whill, I sit up tall and proud because at the end of the day, I couldn’t love this power chair more and I couldn’t be prouder to be a wheelchair user.