During my conversation with Anna I was not only inspired by her story and charmed by her personality, I was totally convinced I needed to try LARPing
According to Google, LARPing is “live action role-playing in which each participant assumes a particular character and acts out various scenarios at events which last for a predetermined time.” Or, as Anna puts it, “nerds who get dressed up, run around in parks and hit each other with foam.” LARPing is something Anna is clearly passionate about and it’s just one of the activities Anna has been able to return to since receiving her new Veloce wheelchair.
Last summer, Anna was diagnosed with early onset multiple sclerosis – a diagnosis which brought her both relief and fear. Relief that she finally had an answer for her long-standing health problems and fear about what her future would look like. “Beyond the physical challenges that my MS brings to the table, the ever looming fear that I will continue to be in and out of bed rest and continue to miss out frightens me”. Before receiving her Veloce, Anna was using a heavy and inefficient wheelchair which restricted her ability to do the things she loved including spontaneous outings with friends, volunteering at her synagogue and taking on more shifts at her job at LUSH. “My clunker holds me back. It is so large and heavy that it complicates my manoeuvrability and is quick to wear me out”. Worst of all, she had to stop LARPing. “I miss the creativity, the movement, and above all the friendships I’ve made”. Anna’s limited mobility was causing a secondary diagnosis: FOMO or “Fear of Missing Out”…every teenager’s worst nightmare.
Anna was also concerned that her mobility (or lack there of) would interfere with her goal of going to university. “For me, pursuing higher education had never been a question. I love learning and the university setting has always sounded like a dream come true. During my university orientation the tires on my old chair literally fell off the rims in the cold”. Anna received her Veloce through the Motion Composites Donation Program in July 2014, the summer before starting her freshman year at the University of Winnipeg. Anna reports that she is now easily getting around campus because the Veloce is so efficient “I love how light it is. I can pop wheelies and get over curbs now. I can even go over grass and gravel. This chair makes everything ten times easier”.
Since receiving her Veloce Anna is back to going out with her friends, taking on more shifts at LUSH and making plans to start volunteering at the university radio station. Best of all she has started LARPing again and even won second place in a recent costume contest. So even though Anna’s LARP character Marlo, a level 2 healer, has yet to conquer MS, she will be saving lives in the land of LARP for many years to come.
Thank you for sharing your story Anna