Chris Malcom is the founder of an online support community called the iPush Foundation, and he also happens to be a C7 quadriplegic. A few years ago, Malcom and Cure Medical’s VP of marketing, Lisa Wells, teamed up to form the iPush Foundation.
This week we’ll learn what iPush is all about, and why Chris wanted to build the iPush community online. See his thoughts below about exploring life on wheels!
The main goal of iPush is to let people who use wheelchairs know that there are other people using wheelchairs who are getting outside and doing things, and they can too.
Many people who use wheelchairs are very active. They’re playing sports, gardening, cooking, jumping out of airplanes, skydiving and doing back flips in wheelchairs at skate parks. They’re hunting, fishing, water skiing and shooting outdoor photography. They’re living life to the fullest!
People who use wheelchairs need to know and understand that life goes on for them after an accident or illness.
They don’t have to sit at home and play computer games. We want people who use wheelchairs to know that they can have very exciting and fun-filled lives, if they’ll go after those lives. Life doesn’t end because you’re using a wheelchair.
Exploring A New Life on Wheels
For many of us, a new life begins after we get our wheelchairs. Sometimes that new life is a much more rewarding life than we’ve had before our accidents or illnesses.
Stay tuned to www.ipush.org to see what we have new and exciting coming up at the end of the summer. Typically, we coordinate our iPush events with a wheelchair manufacturer, a wheelchair cushion manufacturer or other companies or corporations who supply the needs of people who use wheelchairs.
We also sponsor giveaways. Our first event was a wheelchair giveaway, and last year we gave away wheelchair cushions. At our next event, we may feature some adaptive shower products.
All of our event participation today is done online, but one day we hope to sponsor a physical event.
Why iPUSH Foundation Created An Online Presence
Several years ago, Lisa Wells and I recognized that there were many great websites for people with disabilities to go to, especially people who use wheelchairs. People with disabilities could visit these websites, get information and read stories, but there wasn’t a place for people using wheelchairs to go on the web to learn how people were pushing the envelope and having more active and fun-filled lives.
One of the focuses on many of these websites includes inspirational stories of people who use wheelchairs, which is fine. But I don’t want to be anyone else’s inspiration, I’ve been using a wheelchair for 25 years and I’m just fine the way I am.
Instead, Lisa and I wanted to show people how they can become a part of all the many wonderful things that are available to people who use wheelchairs.
That’s why iPush was created. We wanted to emphasize all the things they can do, instead of the things they can’t do.
I want people to come to our website and say, “WOW! I didn’t know I could do that. I think I’ll give that a try.”
One of the stories on our webpage is about Clint Cook, a C5 quadriplegic, who once was a tennis player and wheelchair rugby player. Today he shoots pool and he’s pretty darn good at it too.
An emphasis for us on Facebook is to share stories called, “What do you push for Wednesdays.”
The people who follow us send in stories telling us about themselves and post pictures and videos of what they’re doing – whether they’re in the kitchen, baking, out gardening, skydiving or bungee jumping.
We want to showcase all the many activities that can and are being done by people riding wheelchairs. We want to open new doors for people to push through and realize some of the exciting new frontiers in front of us that we have yet to explore.
Sharing Recreation and Sports
People who use wheelchairs can do so much more than playing basketball, rugby and tennis or doing track and field.
Certainly wheelchair basketball has paved the way and has been the leader in creating sports for people in wheelchairs. Participation in wheelchair sports has continued to increase, and the Paralympics have opened new doors to wheelchair athletes.
But that’s not all people using wheelchairs can do. People are riding wheelchairs in public skate parks, doing back flips, and surfing in their wheelchairs at the ocean. Who would have believed that to be possible?
The iPush Foundation wants to be an outlet connecting our friends to all the new frontiers that no one in the past would have believed was possible.
For example, more and more hiking trails and jogging trails are being opened up for people riding wheelchairs. Just last year one of the people following us on iPush completed the Appalachian Trail in a wheelchair.
Of course, he had some help. But who would ever have believed that an individual could push a wheelchair from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine?
He had to go up and down mountains, cross streams and camp out overnight, covering many miles in a wheelchair. This example shows a new frontier that we’re just now beginning to discover.
One day there may be as many people in wheelchairs rolling down the Appalachian Trail as there are hikers and campers. This guy, a C5 quad, has opened that door, and I’m sure many more will follow.
However, people can’t follow if they don’t know about the possibilities, and iPush aims to change that.
People are pushing their wheelchairs out of airplanes to sky dive and leaving their wheelchairs behind to go scuba diving.
People in the wheelchair community are actually changing the public’s perception of what a person riding a wheelchair can do. That’s a good thing for all of us.
Understanding What People Who Use Wheelchairs Can Accomplish
One of the problems is that now when a person goes through rehabilitation for his/her injuries or sickness, they are not given enough time to learn the benefits of recreational therapy and how recreational therapy can help them live longer, feel better and accomplish more than they ever believed possible.
When I was first injured 25 years ago, using the phrases “active life” and “wheelchairs” was like trying to mix oil and water. They didn’t fit together.
But today, because of many of the new innovations in wheelchairs, everyone can have an active life, everyone can break barriers, and everyone can explore new frontiers that never have been explored by someone in a wheelchair.
Personally, I play wheelchair rugby, and I’m getting back into hiking, and I love exploring new things with my children.
Learning about a Variety of New Wheelchairs
Wheelchairs have taken on new looks, new designs and new modifications. Many of them don’t resemble wheelchairs. For instance, I’m designing my own trail bike out of a wheelchair. I’ve taken an old wheelchair of mine, cut it up, re-welded it and put new tires on it. I have a very active 10-year old, and she and I plan to start hiking together using this new trail bike.
Today, creative people are beginning to design their own wheelchairs to fit the activities they want to participate in and their body types.
Wheelchair manufacturers have identified some specific needs for wheelchairs, and today they’re making wheelchairs stronger, lighter and far more functional than previously by using a wide range of new materials, including titanium, magnesium, aluminum and carbon fiber.
Wheelchairs once weighed 50 pounds each. But modern wheelchairs weigh only about 10-15 pounds. Like the racing market, the wheelchair industry is making wheelchairs that are stronger, lighter, faster and more stable. Many companies are designing and manufacturing custom-made wheelchairs suited to a person’s body type.
So, as the wheelchair industry changes, we want to let people on iPush know what innovations are taking place in our world.
iPush Foundation Educates their Community about Medical Supplies
Supplies for people in wheelchairs have changed dramatically too. The iPush Foundation partners with a company that sells Cure Medical catheters along with other brands of catheters, to help our community find the medical supplies that they need.
One of the biggest innovations in catheters has been the hydrophilic catheters like those made by Cure Medical.
They’re activated by water as opposed to your having to carry the catheter and extra lubricant with you, putting the lubricant on the catheter and getting the lubricant on your hand. Hydrophilic or ready-to-use catheters solve many of these problems.
To request free samples of the Hydrophilic Cure Catheter® or any Cure Medical® catheter, contact your local distributor of quality healthcare products, or click here.
Getting the cost of your catheter covered by insurance companies is great. But often, insurance companies limit the number of catheters they will cover. Sometimes there is a lapse in coverage, or perhaps people need to purchase more catheters than their insurance company will allow.
When that happens, people have to pay cash for their medical supplies. These folks are the ones we try to serve.
We feel our supply partner has great products at very economical prices, and gives good service to go along with the good prices.
If you have any questions on this or any other topic related to using a wheelchair, contact us on Facebook! We’d love to talk with you, and you’ll be in good company as more than 13,000 people currently follow our Facebook page online.
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