Monthly Archives: November 2013

Do or Don’t? Black Friday Shopping In a Wheelchair


Black Friday has arrived and the sales are too good to pass up, right? But the daunting task of encountering those insane, pushy crowds may be too much if you use a wheelchair. I know lots of wheelchair-users however who are undeterred, and have no problem whatsoever getting up at 3am to get the best deals at 5am.

If you think these people are nuts, learning how to shop in a wheelchair is an important skill, especially if your upper body is affected by your disability. I had a new C6 quad ask me the other day, “How do you shop?” and I replied, “Well, I just ask for a lot of help.”

But there are a few other important things you need to know too to get the whole wheelchair-shopping thing down pat, like how to push a shopping cart. Check out our three in-depth wheelchair-shopping videos below.

Our first video comes from Andrew Angulo, founder of Disabled Life Media, who has some really great videos on wheelchair life. In his video, he discusses going shopping post-injury. And after a quick heart-to-heart with his camera, he films himself as he shops at Home Depot.

It’s a fun video. He zooms around store having fun with his kid, and he shows how to get some of the top shelf without asking for help. Andrew has a great energy. Check it out yourself – Andrew Angulo discusses shopping post-injury

Our second video is of the adorable Courtney Cirabisi, a 20 something paraplegic who loves to shop. In her video she has her friend film her as she shows how she pushes a shopping cart from her manual wheelchair. She has a great technique too, and dare I say a sexy one at that.

It’s all in the swing of the hips, and boy is it awesome. Once she gets going, her momentum continues and she’s able to push the cart. I just love this girl’s sass. Watch her do her thing (and then stop because Wal-Mart employees tell her no recording in the store)

And our third video comes from Dan, a C6 quad from Ann-Harbor, Michigan, and he shows something that’s not very easy at all – shopping from your wheelchair in the winter. Michigan’s winters are known to be pretty frigid, but Dan is undeterred. Hey, a quad has got to eat too.

I particularly like this video because it shows the entire process, from getting ready in the house and exiting his van to getting things off the shelf at the store completely on his own.  He’s also wearing thick mittens 75% as of this time as he’s grabbing stuff which is quite impressive considering he can’t move his fingers. It’s not easy, but it’s great he shows how he can still do it. Watch his thorough shopping trip

Love it or hate it, shopping is a necessity of life. Just remember the following whenever you go out to get your shopping on – have fun, and don’t let the jerkfaces who sometimes stare bug you. Shopping can be a blast from a chair. Don’t let anyone when you go out ever ruin your shine.

Do you do Black Friday shopping in a wheelchair?

Watch the videos!

Andrew Angulo, a paraplegic, talks about shopping in a wheelchair post-injury (and goes to Home Depot)

Courtney Cirabisi, a wheelchair-user, shows the adorable way to push a shopping cart from a wheelchair

Dan, a C6 quad, shows the challenges shopping in a wheelchair in the middle of Winter

SCI Superstar: Kenny Herriot


Kenny Herriot is much more than a wheelchair athlete, he could give the Most Interesting Man in the World a run for his money. He’s not only one of the best wheelchair racers in the world, he also flies planes, boxes, teaches fitness, climbs mountains, shoots rifles, skydives and on top of it all, he’s an inspirational speaker.

A man who shows how to reclaim your life better than anyone, but just a bit differently, read on to learn about one of the greatest wheelchair athletes to come out of Great Britain, Kenny Herriot.

Why he’s fearless

Growing up in Scotland, Kenny, now 51, didn’t set out to be a wheelchair athlete. He a very physically active kid and love being out in the world. He had boxing lessons, loved playing soccer, running marathons, lifting weights and one of his biggest loves was racing motorcycles. The thought of having a spinal cord injury was the last thing to cross his mind.

After high school, as a born and bred athlete who only really felt at home in the gym (or if he was competing), Kenny decided to enlist in the Parachute Regiment of the Scottish army where he served for 5 years. After leaving the army, he opened his own fitness club and taught aerobics and ballroom dance for several years, all while being a single parent.

However when he was 38 his life came to a screeching halt when he crashed his motorcycle after hitting a patch of gas spilled on the road, causing him to skid and tearing his spinal cord and breaking three ribs as he crashed.  An athlete who worked so hard for his physical abilities, one of the biggest sorrows he says was how years of training can go down the drain in a split second.

The thing about Kenny though is that he didn’t allow himself to wallow in depression.  Within four weeks, he was already in his wheelchair and learning how to walk with braces, and it was only 11 months after his injury, in May, 2001, when Kenny competed his first road race – the Aberdeen Baker Hughes 10K.

After his first race he caught the racing bug and bought his first racing chair. Months later, after training even more, Kenny entered the Dublin Marathon, which is where he broke every previous wheelchair racing record.  He completed the race in 2 hours and 45 minutes, which was several minutes ahead of all the other competitors. Kenny had arrived.

In the years that followed, Kenny became one of the most well-known and decorated wheelchair racers in the world  He broke the Scottish marathon record in Thailand in under 2 hours, as well as other Scottish marathon records in cities all over the world, from Barcelona to Berlin. In 2005, he was ranked the 4th fastest wheelchair racer in the world.

But Kenny wasn’t satisfied. In 2009, he set out for the ride of a lifetime – he cycled from San Francisco to New York City in 42 days to raise $500,000 for childhood cancer research, which he did. He’s also represented Team GB in racing in the European and World Championships over the years.

What’s next?

Kenny may be considered past his “prime” in the world of wheelchair racing now that he’s in his ’50s, but that hasn’t stopped him from doing another awesome things. He frequently shoots and hunts with other paraplegics in the woods of Scotland and there’s some epic video evidence of him skydiving and flying planes (links).

And one of the coolest things he’s done that’s not wheelchair racing-related – Kenny became the first wheelchair user to climb the tallest mountain in Great Britain, Scafell Pike, which he did in August of 2010, and this time to raise money for SCI research. Yes, he definitely has more than a little bit of pep in his step.

“I have lived more of a life than most of us,” Kenny likes to say, and you know what, I think I have to agree.

Visit his site: Kenny Herriot Wheelchair Athlete & Inspirational Speaker

Have you heard Kenny Herriot speak about his life?

Watch the videos!

Montage of Kenny Herriot – Wheelchair Athlete

Kenny Herriot boxing @ the Aberdeen Combat Centre

Kenny trying power assist on his handcycle

Kenny flying a small prop plane with another paraplegic

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