For someone dealing with new mobility restrictions, it can often feel like independence is completely out of reach. We often hear from those learning to walk again and struggling with everyday tasks that it feels easier to isolate themselves rather than feel like a burden on friends and family.
Suzanne Gales certainly felt that way when she developed hemiplegia, a condition that causes paralysis on one vertical half of the body. Luckily, we designed the Motivo Tour to provide people like her with another option: freedom.
In summer 2014, Suzanne found out she would need cranial revascularization surgery to repair a potentially fatal aneurism. Suzanne had the surgery on the eve of her birthday, July 3rd — just before Independence Day. While the operation restored blood flow to her brain, Suzanne was left less independent than ever, unable to use one arm or walk unaided.
The pastimes she loved—sightseeing at the park near her home, shopping and visiting friends—were no longer possible. Her lack of mobility made her feel isolated.
“During my recovery, my physical therapist refused to incorporate a walker, thinking I wouldn’t be able to manage it with only one side of my body.”
Once Suzanne returned home, she tried various walking aids to increase her mobility. But both a cane and a hemi-walker were too difficult for Suzanne to control. She fell three times, shattering her hope of regaining mobility and leaving her with a fear of falling. Suzanne stopped trying to walk altogether, and confined to a wheelchair, her world shrunk to just her living room.
She didn’t give up on finding a better mobility aid, though, and in 2018, she saw a Motivo ad. Impressed by the Motivo Tour’s innovative design, she reached out to us, optimistic that she might be able to get her independence back.
And she has. Suzanne can easily stand upright and maneuver her Motivo Tour with one hand, something she couldn’t do with other mobility aids. She takes advantage of the stow-away seat to free her hands to pour herself a cup of coffee, a simple task that has been out of reach until now.
Since it’s easy to collapse and put into the family SUV, Suzanne’s lightweight walker is helping her regain her social life, too. The Tour’s smooth roll and brake make almost any surface accessible, despite her hemiplegia, so she can enjoy walking through the park with her husband and shopping with friends again.
“I’m walking further with my Motivo Tour than I could with any other mobility aid,” she says. “My physical therapist is pretty impressed with how strong I am now.”
The sleek design of her Tour —along with the hot rod flames Suzanne put on the sides—gets compliments every time she’s out. People stop her all the time, something that never happened with her previous, drab “medical-looking” aids: “I told one little girl that I was learning how to walk again.”
By giving her back some of the freedom and security her health condition took away, Suzanne’s Motivo Tour gave her a new lease on life. She’s just one more shining example of how Motivo helps people regain independence—and confidence—by giving them the mobility they deserve.