During National AccessAbility Week, we were excited for our CEO Sue Gilpin to announce the work that we have been doing with our first ever Client Ambassador – Beau Hayward. Beau is an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto majoring in history and archaeology. He is also a member of the university’s equity diversity and inclusion team as a student initiatives team lead and previously participated in U of T’s National AccessAbility Week activities as a keynote speaker talking about inclusion on campus for students with disabilities in athletics. Beau lives in downtown Toronto with his partner Meghan. My name is Beau Hayward, and I’m a C4 C5 incomplete quadriplegic. I had a diving accident at a friend’s cottage in Sudbury in the summer of 2018. Since then, I have continuously worked towards regaining my independence in any way possible. As a Client Ambassador, I’m excited to share my experiences in hopes that they shed light on others like myself and on the opportunities I have taken advantage of as a person living with a physical disability. I currently use a manual wheelchair with a Cheelcare Companion Q power assist system as my primary means of mobility, along with a power wheelchair with tilt, foot elevation, and seat elevate and recline features for rougher terrain. The Cheelcare and Motion teams have worked together to provide me with the items that I need to live a more fulfilling life. Everything has changed since getting my Cheelcare Companion Q. With a manual chair it’s much easier to get under tables and through narrow spaces. With the Companion Q, I get the versatility of a manual chair with the efficiency of a power chair. Getting in and out of restaurants with a small step is no problem – simply pop the companion off the chair, bump up the step, and we are in. I now can easily partake in activities I wouldn’t have been able to achieve in my manual chair without the Companion Q. It’s by far the greatest device that I have bought since my injury. Put simply, it has extended the range for which I can leave my home by leaps and bounds. Propelling my manual chair by hand is incredibly difficult with my level of ability, so I could only go a short distance on very restricted paths when leaving my home. All of that is in the past now, and if it’s within the battery life of the device I can get there. And I’ve not found any activity thus far that requires more than the battery life of the device. For example, I live in a downtown core but belong to a sailing club 8.5 km away from my home. On one charge I easily make it there and back in undulating terrain. If for example, I forget to charge the device, I simply put the charger in my backpack and plug it in when I get to where I’m going. A full charge takes three hours, but plugging in over dinner has always sufficed to top up the battery life and get me where I need to go. The mobility equipment that I use is essential in every aspect of my daily life. Without lived experience, it is impossible to know what hurdles and pitfalls lie ahead, but I look forward to pushing the limits of my devices and sharing these experiences with fellow Motion clients and people who may need to consider mobility equipment for the first time. As a person living with a disability, I also have a unique experience with the products and services that are provided by Motion, and I look forward to providing feedback that will garner better service and experiences for all Motion clients. Follow me on Instagram – @its_beau_2.0 – to reach out to me directly and to follow along on some of my adventures! NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author and contributors. This article has not been sponsored by the brands/companies/organizations noted within. Get to know the writer Beau Hayward, Client Ambassador, Motion Beau Hayward is an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto majoring in history and archaeology. He is also a member of the university’s equity diversity and inclusion team as a student initiatives team lead and previously participated in U of T’s National AccessAbility Week activities as a keynote speaker talking about inclusion on campus for students with disabilities in athletics. He experienced a diving accident in the summer of 2018 and is a C4 C5 incomplete quadriplegic who uses a manual wheelchair along with a power assist system. Beau lives in Toronto, ON with his partner Meghan.