Monthly Archives: February 2014

SCI Superstar: Angela Irick

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It takes a lot of gusto to step out in the world the way Angela Irick has. A C1-2 quadriplegic since 1996, she’s been bound and determined not to let her paralysis hold her back from her dreams. While it’s certainly not easy navigating the world with an injury as high as hers, that hasn’t stopped her.

As the founder of Heels with Wheels, an online fashion store for women with disabilities and a dedicated committee member for Ms. Wheelchair Texas, Angela is staying true to what she loves. Read on for Angela Irick’s awesome story of moving on and doing it with style.

Why she’s fearless

Growing up in Houston, Texas, Angela was your typical fun-loving Southern girl. She loved dressing up, feeling pretty and was a big time social bug. But when her injury occurred when she was just 14, a minor car accident that resulted in a broken neck, her entire life was reset.  She spent the first year post-injury in the hospital, but she was able to shock her doctors by weaning herself off the ventilator, and that not just the beginning.

She was able to regain the ability to speak and eat again on her own as well, despite what doctors expected. Yes she made it work. After a year in the hospital, she finally returned home and was home schooled the first couple of years upon returning. But amazingly, she was able to graduate with her high school class in 2000.

After high school, Angela – realizing the difficulties it would take to go to college in person (her mother has been their caregivers since your injury) – she enrolled in online writing courses, which she did for two years. And while in school, she snagged the job as Director of Communications for Skylar magazine, an online fashion magazine.

Her work with Skylar magazine, as well as her frustrations over the fashion options in general for women with disabilities, inspired her to make the change in her career, and that was launching Heels with Wheels in 2010, a company/site that designs and sells clothing made especially for women who use wheelchairs.

From pretty sleepwear and easy-to-put-on dresses for any occasion to super cute jackets and jeans, Heels with Wheels has some beautiful stuff. She even put on an fashion show for the site a couple of years ago down in Houston. Check out her clothing site here

A dedicated writer, Angela is also a published author of children’s books. Her books aim to teach children we are beautiful no matter and that people with disabilities deserve to be integrated. Got to love that message. She’s published two books so far: “Sampson to the Rescue” and “Ashley Wins the First Day of School.” Check them out on Amazon

What’s next?

The Ms. Wheelchair Texas pageant is another passion of Angela’s that’s cropped up in recent years. She ran as a contestant in 2012 and she’s an active committee member as well as an official ambassador for the pageant, helping out with the pageant whenever she can, and even assisting contestants with raising money for their entry fees.

Staying physically active is another big part of an Angela’s life, and she’s a fervent believer it’s never too late to get more return. In 2012, she returned to PT after a nearly 16 year hiatus, and she saw some hand and triceps function come back. Also earlier this year she went diving with the adapted diving organization Diveheart off the coast of Texas. And she’s also trying to raise money go skiing in Montana, another activity on her bucket list. Can you say no fear?

You can’t help but love Angela. Passionate about helping others, dedicated to her company and on top of that she’s multi-talented, from designing clothes to writing children’s books, Angela shows that following your bliss post-injury is always the smart thing to do.

Check out her site – Heels with Wheels

Have you met Angela? How has she helped you?

Check out her videos!

Heels with Wheels Be Fashion-ABLE Gala in Houston, TX

Angela returning to PT 16 years post-injury

Heels with Wheels photoshoot featuring Angela and other models

Laundry From Your Wheelchair: Managing the Chore Solo

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It can be tricky doing all the chores you did before you were paralyzed. Even if you’re a T12 paraplegic, there’s tough things you’ll encounter – dusting ceiling fans, wiping bathroom mirrors, vacuuming stairs; boring chores no one wants to do but must be done. And one of the toughest, doing the laundry.

People with disabilities however tend to make rather mundane things more interesting, and these videos showing some of their best laundry tricks prove. There are loads of issues you can run into doing laundry sitting down – reaching into the washer/dryer, using stackable machines and so much more. Check out some of their clever tricks below.

Video #1: Using a stackable washer and dryer from a manual wheelchair

Our first video comes from Kristen of Living Able, a woman with Spina Bifida who loves making videos showing how she can manage her home on her own. In this video, “Saving Space: How to use a stack-able washer and dryer from a wheelchair,” she shows her very smart tip for using a stacked washer/dryer completely independently.

Her secret – she uses her handy dandy 22″ reacher. It seems like an obvious idea sure, but it takes a certain finesse to do it without getting incredibly frustrated, and she’s perfected exactly how to do it. The reacher is great for reaching in deep to get the wet clothes way back and then throwing them up into the dryer. She also uses a broom to turn on the dryer.

Kristen also shares a few cool tips, such as on how to make a homemade reacher and how to make sure you never lose a sock again. Watch Kristen’s stacked laundry video

Video #2: A recommended washer for wheelchair-users + washing tips

Our second video comes from the adorable couple Anita and Craig who are both wheelchair-users and it shows how they manage the laundry in their home. They run the blog walkingwayoverrated.blogspot.com and this video is one of their many helpful videos showing how you can do nearly anything without being able to walk.

In their video titled, “Laundry, Craig Style!” Anita films her husband as he shows how he uses their washing machine – a front-loading machine; the only way to go for a wheelchair-user they say (agreed). Plus they share a whole bunch of other tips.

My favorite of their tips – how shaking your laundry before throwing it in prevents wrinkles (and eliminates the need to iron. Win!). They also show how a cloth laundry bag is a must for toting laundry on your lap. Watch Anita & Craig’s kitchy cute laundry video

Video #3: Quadriplegic shows how he inserts coins in washer @ laundromat

And finally, if you have paralyzed fingers you will totally appreciate this video from youngd81, an active C5-6 quad who uses a manual chair. In his video, “Laundry Part2,” he shows how he uses a coin laundry machine completely on his own.

A crazy difficult task no doubt, he shows the patience and carefulness required to successfully pull it off. Anyone who’s been in this position can especially appreciate his talent at this. Watch how he uses a coin laundry machine

Fresh, clean clothes, the inner joy of completing a task. It may be one of the most annoying tasks we must do, no one likes an on-going chore, but being able to do it on your own, now that feels dang good.

What tricks do you have for doing laundry at home?

Check out the videos!

How to use a stackable washer/dryer from a wheelchair

A great front-loading washer for a wheelchair-user + washing tips

C6 quad showing how he uses a coin washing machine

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