A handbike is a big wheel which attaches on to the front of a wheelchair and turns it into a trike. It enables a much greater degree of independence as it can go places where it is virtually impossible to access with just a wheelchair, like countryside with rough terrain, beaches with hard sand and fields/grass.
I have been in a wheelchair for 21 years as when I was 23, I was hit by a freak wave in the Indian Ocean and broke my neck. Since then I haven’t been able to walk at all and am reliant on technology to be as independent as possible. There is some fabulous equipment out there to help disabled people but unfortunately it is all very expensive. As I was hit by a wave, my accident was classed as ‘an Act of God’ and therefore I didn’t receive any financial compensation for my accident. This has meant that over the years, I have had to fight really hard for any equipment I have had.
I decided to try to crowdfund for the handbike as from Jan 18-Apr 19, I had a really nasty pressure sore (which can be a spinal injury complication) and was 100% confined to bed for 15 months. I got really depressed and started to paint which helped me so much with my mental health over this time. I onky started painting last June 2018 and have sold some prints & paintings which is still bizarre to me as before then I didn’t even know I could paint. The first time I tried a Batec as a trial was last Friday and even from that and by talking to the company, I could tell how life changing it would be to have one. Last October I started a Facebook and an instagram page to reach out to people who were/are struggling and tell them about my health and my art journey. The first time I tried a Batec as a trial was last Friday and even from that and by talking to the company, I could tell that it would be life changing and all painting funds will go towards this project. Please buy a print from my shop if you can or make a donation, £6,000 is my target, together we can do this!
If you would like to have a look at my pages, please search on Facebook for:
Rachel Smith-The Wonky Artist
Or on instagram @thewonkyartist
The handbike would enable me to have a far greater level of independence and participate more in family life as we would be able to access the countryside more, go to beaches, take my daughter to school and my dog for a walk and just be able to walk next to my husband instead of him having to push me so often. My daughter is now 10 and I really want to be able to take her to school while I’m still not too embarassing and not sure how much longer this will be!