When you ask Charles what he loves most about his Helio C2 his answer is simple “I love the fact that it’s so light. Energy conservation is everything to me”.
Charles has multiple sclerosis and the Helio C2 is his first wheelchair. When you have a condition like MS, and you gradually lose the ability to walk, making the decision to get a wheelchair can be difficult. “At first it was one cane, then two canes, then forearm crutches and then a walker. And then I decided that getting from point A to point B was taking too long and was too difficult, so 4 months ago I decided to get a wheelchair. It’s a difficult transition to go through but this chair makes it easier”.
When I ask Charles to elaborate on what prompted him to get his first wheelchair he quickly lists the reasons, “Mobility, stability and accessibility”. Mobility: “Before I had the Helio, when I needed to get something in my house, I would look down the hallway and say screw it. Now I give one push and I’m there”. Stability: “With the walker I was terrified because I could fall. With the Helio I know I’m not going to fall”. Accessibility: “I haven’t found a doorway I can’t go through. I have 3 degrees of camber. My footplates swing in and out. It folds. I can turn on a dime because it’s so light. I can do whatever I want”. Charles boasts about how the Helio has even impressed the company he relies on for transportation. “Para-transport loves this chair. The guy said to me “I’ve never spun a chair this easily in such a small space”.
Charles trialed the Helio and made his mind up quickly. “I decided I was getting the chair no matter what – insurance or not – which speaks to the quality of the chair”. Charles opted not to cover up the carbon fiber finish with a paint colour. “I’m a navy brat and I’ve always loved being on the water. You get to know carbon fiber…stronger than steel and lighter than anything. Even the backcanes are carbon fiber”. Charles worked with local vendor Nick Forrester of OMS in Ottawa during the trial process. Nick helped Charles not only select the chair but set it up too, “The balance point is set up well for me; I can do a 360 in a wheelie. The seat is bucketed which holds my pelvis back. I don’t wobble back and forth”. Charles recently lost about 45 pounds but he knows that the Helio can change with him. “Nick said he will check the set up in 4-6 months and if there are any major changes he will adjust the chair.” Charles credits Nick for not only recommending and setting up the Helio but for restoring his mobility, stability and accessibility. “He’s given me the three things I had lost. I am happy”.
Charles really likes his Helio…maybe a little too much. “I love my chair. To say I sleep with it…it’s close. It’s usually within arm’s reach. I have a picture of the wheel hub as my Blackberry wallpaper”.
Thank you for sharing your story Charles.