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Ruth writing this piece

"... replacement did not exist ..."

You will be wondering what the daughter of the designer of the Dragon could possibly say that would not be completely predictable.
                        " My father etc ... Wonderful childhood blah blah ... "
The point is, if it were only family loyalty that kept me in my father's machines I would have given them up years ago. It would have been easier to buy a replacement, except that that replacement did not exist. To give up the Dragon would have been to give up a part of me, embrace my disability and settle for less.

Instead I used a machine (it is not a wheelchair in the sense you know) which enabled me to live as the able-bodied self I had grown up as. To be fair, that machine was a prototype when it was new and is now nearly ten years old. If it were a horse it should be put out to pasture - spend its retiring years in the lap of work-free luxury. To use an experimental (and some will know that that means temperamental) Dan Everard design was preferable to any of the best wheelchairs on the market. I had no choice.

When I took driving lessons in a car all the obvious comments were made - how easy it would be and how good at driving I would be because I had been using wheels all my life. Do you know how many times I have heard "careful speedy - did you take a driving test for that?" as I walked past people - funny.

How frustrating then that I could not do it - I could not master a car on my first lesson. Like every other learner driver I got in the car thinking "how hard can this be?" - HARD. Because, like every other pedestrian, I had never moved in a way which did not come instinctively. I failed my driving test twice before I passed, yet there had been a point before my second birthday when I would be told off for knocking into things in my first chair - my parents and I knew that it was my own clumsiness and not the fault of the machine.

I have been asked to give anecdotes of my life using my Turbos and Dragon, but the more I try to think of them the more I realise that it is rather like asking you for stories specifically about your legs and feet - it is unlikely you have many - they were just what got you between your anecdotes.

Now, after all the perseverance, the prototypes and experimentation have paid off. My ten-year-old Dragon is about to go into retirement and the new generation is here - bring it on.

Ruth Everard, September 2003

 

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© dragonmobility ltd 2004-16 | Author : DanE | Last updated: 25th August 2017