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Wheelchairs are NOT washing machines!

January 11, 2008

I was told this by a close friend’s mother today. It’s so tragically funny that I felt the need to blog it.

My friend’s mother, being a very sensitive person who believes strongly in inclusive sport, runs a sports club for people with DisAbilities. Our member list includes quite a few wheelchair users.

The club was given some money for an activity of a member’s choice. So the selected member chose ice skating. This started a long mission for my friend’s mum- finding a wheelchair-accessible ice rink is, unfortunately, impossible, as you will see!

So- she thought she’d finally found one. In excitement, she planned a trip for the club. But when she went to the rink, she discovered that their idea of ‘wheelchair accessible’ involved lifting the wheelchairs- with their owners inside- over a big step. When she asked them how they would manage to get wheelchair users over the step, she was told not to worry, because they were used to lifting washing machines!

She rightly told them that dropped washing machines break and can be replaced, but a dropped wheelchair would have a person inside! Of course, the club didn’t get to go ice skating. Wheelchairs- and more importantly, of course, the people inside them- are much, much more valuable than washing machines. The search for an accessible ice-skating rink continues….      

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