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Chair with a view

Judith Geppert
Author, public speaker and adventurer

Judith's elevating wheelchair allows her to reach the counter and order a round of drinks from the bar

Over the last 50 years cerebral palsy has not stopped me from getting the most out of my life. I have scaled the heights of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, experienced the thrill of tandem skydiving and hot air ballooning, co-piloted a Ferrari racing car, notching up speeds of 200 kph and on most Saturdays, a solo sailor around Manly Cove. The only drawback is that I have had to face the world, in a wheelchair, looking at peoples' 'butts' and 'navels'.

But not anymore … I have finally found the solution …

Seeing eye-to-eye

I bought myself a new highly manoeuvrable power drive elevating wheelchair; with a cantilever lift system (12 inch vertical lift). It has a compact design superb for indoor use and a sport-trac suspension for a smooth and stable ride over challenging terrain. With the assistance from the highly skilled technicians at the TASC Workshop (The Spastic Centre), solutions were made for the mounting of the foot controller and a switching device which has given me the ability to operate this chair to its full potential.

Now, my environment has opened up - I can do so many things that many people take for granted. I can sit at a kitchen counter, reach the supermarket shelves, am able to see over people in crowds, at sporting events or rock concerts, access the high counters in banks and some government offices, reach for books and CDs at the library and most important have social contact with the general community at eye level.

As a motivational speaker and lecturer at University of Sydney I can now sit tall at the podium and deliver my speeches, like any other person. This chair also affords me more independence, (which I cherish), to mix socially with friends or work colleagues for an after work 'happy hour' at the local bar".

My plans for the next 50 years? There will be "no more being looked down on, no more being left out of conversations and no more eyeballing peoples' butts."

Published: December 2005

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