Over the past few months we’ve been busy working away in the background trying to track down a whole host of writers to contribute to the Sunrise Medical blog. We’ve spoken with Paralympians, racing drivers, models, business owners and lots of other people and we think we have some really interesting, relevant and engaging articles lined up for you over the coming months. We like to refer to our team of writers as the Sunrise Medical Blog Squad and we thought it would be rude not to introduce some of them to you. You might recognise Clara as she was the face of our recent Quickie Q100 R campaign. The first powerchair from the Q-Series to be launched in the UK.
My name is Clara Holmes, I am 38 years old and my birthday is at the end of July which makes me a Leo. I was born in London and I have lived in London all my life. I have lived in Notting Hill, in West London, for last 13 years and I just love it! I don’t think I would rather live anywhere else. It's easy to get to the West End and Central London, Kensington or Chelsea. The world-famous Portobello Road market is also very close to me and I am also a 12-minute “wheel” away from Westfield shopping centre, which my mum says is my second home - because I am always there. The truth is she is probably right, because I am there a lot, after all it’s fully accessible, it's super handy, with great shops, bars and restaurants.
Fashion blogging and modelling
I love fashion and as I am a Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger/Influencer and Model, my location works beautifully for me. It is easy for me to shopping, go to events, go out with friends and enjoy life the best I can. My blog is a personal blog where I write about my fashion & style, girl about town lifestyle, vegan & gluten free healthy food recipes and my travel escapades. My advice to anyone who is looking to do the same, is be honest and write about what you love, as it takes up many hours of writing and photo editing.
I have been modelling for the past year and a half, after I was spotted in Canary Wharf by two model scouts from Zebedee Management and the next day I was signed to the agency. Modelling has always been something I wanted to do since I was a child, so this is a dream come true for me and to get this opportunity at the age I am… It just proves you should never give up on your dreams, when the time is right and if it is meant to happen it will, it’s all about positivity!
Ehlers Danlos and pain management
I have been a full-time wheelchair user for the last 12 years. I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome which is a genetic connective tissue disorder, as I got older it became worse and I am no longer able walk or stand. It’s a very painful condition and I am in constant pain, the more I do, the more pain I am in. So, my pain management consists of pacing myself, planning everything, being organised, not getting stressed and being gluten free because it has been suggested that gluten causes more joint pain.
Around the house I use a manual wheelchair and a powerchair for when I am out the of house. I have had my powerchair for the last 7 years and it has truly changed my life for the better. It has given me independence, freedom, and improved my mental wellbeing. Getting a powerchair was the best decision I have ever made! I am now more confident and happier than I have ever been in my life.
Overcoming challenges as a wheelchair user
I try to live my life to the fullest, the best I can. I try to have a positive outlook on life and surround myself with positive people. Of course, there are many challenges I face as a wheelchair user, but I believe the first hurdle you must get over is the in the mind - once you have conquered that, then you can deal with other challenges you may face. As a wheelchair user one of the biggest challenges you’ll face is accessibility. In the UK, depending on where you live, accessibility is not always great, you always need to do research before going to a place you not been before.
Of course, more improvements could be made, but we have come a long way in the last two decades in terms accessibility and people’s attitude towards those that are wheelchair users or have a disability. As someone that has travelled to other countries, I know it could be a lot worse. I have been to Dominica where I had no choice but to wheel in the road because the pavements are nearly as high as your knee. The Dominican wheelchair users are merely existing rather than living, because they are trapped in their houses due to the island’s lack of accessibility.
Travelling as a wheelchair user
As a ‘walker’ I used to travel a lot. My family are from Jamaica and I have visited the island a few times, I have also been to Cyprus, Turkey, Greek Islands, Skiing in France, New York and stayed for three months in Miami. When I became a wheelchair user one of things I thought I would never be able to do again was travel, but I have, it’s just different and takes a lot of planning and organising in advance. I have been ‘island hopping’ on two Caribbean cruises, been to Jamaica, France, Spain and Portugal as a wheelchair user.
Live without limits
My advice for those who may have just become a wheelchair user or who are a long-term wheelchair user like myself, is to check out my blog rollinfunkyblog.com. It will open your eyes to the fact that although you may be a wheelchair user you can still live a great life and the possibilities are endless. My ethos that I live by is, do what’s best for you and live your best life, because life is too short not to.
Written by Clara Holmes aka Rollin Funky