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Freedom and Independence Come in Many Forms

Person crossing street on wheelchairOn the calendar, it says July 4th is Independence Day.  To me, every day is a day to celebrate our independence and freedom.

Maybe it’s because we spend nine months stuffed in the womb, so when we get out, we want to be set free...and now. 

Put an infant in a crib and immediately, arms and legs start flailing.  When we’re strong enough to crawl, look out. Isn’t that why playpens (aka kid cages) were invented?

Put a newly walking toddler on the ground and it’s 100-yard dash time.  We want our freedom, and the sooner the better. 

It’s no different with our mind and spirit.  Don’t try to tell me how or what to think or feel.  Freedom of thought is priceless.

I lost all of my freedom and independence in college when I broke my neck and was paralyzed from the shoulders down.  

Fortunately, I had not completely severed the spinal cord. I was able to partially recover and walk again. 

My freedom and independence were given back to me.

Now, Father Time wants to get in on the act  

My spinal cord is deteriorating, so freedom and independence now come in the form of trekking poles or arm crutches and a three-wheel trike.

But I’m still on the move.

Bob Wassom on his bike chair

My recumbent Catrike is my freedom machine.

It’s that way for all of us aging souls. Getting around is just tougher as we get older.

Enter the need for adaptive gear like crutches, wheelchairs and walkers.

They’re especially helpful for those of us with acquired challenges like spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis or other mobility killers.

And let’s hear it for the wheel. 

I cringe when I hear someone say, “Oh, she’s confined to a wheelchair.” 

That’s bogus, baby. 

Nothing could be further from the truth.   A wheelchair is instant freedom.    

person winning race on a bike chair

Wheelchairs and handcycles can really fly.

Have you ever seen a paraplegic athlete in a wheelchair or on a handcycle?   They can fly. 

One day on the Legacy Parkway bike path, I had a Paralympic handcyclist pass me going over 20 miles per hour on a flat.  Confining?  Nope.

The point is, having the freedom and independence to go where and when you want to is worth fighting for.

The saying goes, “If you want to keep moving, keep moving.” 

If you’re fortunate enough to still have your mobility, get out and use it.               

There’s no shortage of parks and trails in Utah with easy access for walking or riding.

For one near you check out ParkRX America.   Type in your home address and you can find a number of parks near you.

Or check out these ADA accessible attractions across the state. Then get up, get out and get moving.

Must-Do ADA Activities, North to South

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Last Updated: 7/6/21