Lamp with Paul, one the engineers on the project
Someone's got a new set of wheels and she's really excited.
Lamp has been a power chair driving diva for over 3 years now and long time readers may remember my original hesitancy with bring her power chair home. Now her chair blends in as much as the couch or dinner table and we don't think twice about it.
Well, that's not entirely true. We don't think twice about the fact that our daughter uses and relies on a power chair, but we've thought a lot about the dynamics of this chair--if it's really as user friendly as it could be and how we could adapt it to make it even better for Lamp.
While Lamp can operate the chair like a pro--I'm not kidding girlfriend can turn on a dime and parallel park better than your mama--she still needs assistance to get in and out of the chair. Someone to lift her up, buckle her in and likewise, unbuckle her and lift her out. This seems especially cumbersome in the house. So much so that since we've moved to Cincinnati I can count on one hand the number of times we've actually brought her chair in the house. The novelty of being able to drive from room to room was outweighed by the practicality of needing help each time she actually wanted to use the chair. So mostly we keep in in the garage for outdoor use, school, church, parks, zoos, etc.
B and I started dreaming up something we called the Lampy Pod a while ago. A power chair that was basically stripped down to the base with a seat just barely on top that would be low and deep enough for Lamp to get in and out of by herself with no need for a seatbelt. We actually started looking at buying a used power chair to play around with, but for one reason or another we got sidetracked.
So earlier this year when Lamp's physical therapist asked if she could reach out to a local organization called May We Help to see about getting Lamp a custom made adaptive tricycle I said, Absolutely. That would be great.... I have another idea I wonder if they could help us out with.
May We Help is an organization dedicated to creating solutions for individuals with special needs to achieve their dreams and goals or to simply make life easier. They are largely made up of volunteers--engineers, artists, programmers, techies--who come together and make really cool things happen. For us, it was the adaptive tricycle and the Lampy Pod. Yep, last Friday we finally got the Lampy Pod.
No surprise... she LOVES it. And let me tell you, in the world of Lamp and adaptive equipment I have learned to let go of expectations and therefore I don't often get to say that something is exactly what I hoped it would be. But the Lampy Pod is exactly what we hoped it would be.
Here's a 15 second video of Lamp zooming around the house in her new ride. This was before the seat cover was made which is why it looks a little different from the pictures above, but all I see is smiles for miles.
Like I said, May We Help also made her an adaptive tricycle. We're still working on getting some more custom handle bar and foot holds, but even now it's been fun to see her peddle her little heart out. This instagram video with her little sister riding on the back is magical... just another big sister doing regular big sister things.
I can't tell you how important an organization like May We Help is to our family and many, many other individuals and families out there. When B first came up with design for the spoon that Lamp still uses day in and day out to feed herself we were like Jack Pot! This is brilliant! We're going to market these and make millions...and... oh wait... Lamp is the only person in the universe this spoon works for. Never mind... but hey awesome for us. Solutions like the spoon and the Lampy pod are life changing and monumental for one person at a time, which means there is no money and sustainability in this line of work. Enter volunteers. This type of innovation for the people who need it most is only available through people who volunteer their time, talents and resources. Where would the world be without volunteers?
God bless the volunteers.
Thank you so much May We Help. You've made a huge difference in the life of this 4 year old and her family. Readers, if you're a special needs family in the greater Cincinnati area and could use some assistance check out May We Help. And if you're not in the greater Cincinnati area, look around. Ask your therapists, doctors, even call a university and talk to the engineering department. Chances are there is something like May We Help where you live.