“My WAV has made it possible for me to have a full life”. Sarah has been a Motability Scheme customer for over 13 years; in this article she tells us how her Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) helps her manage her day to day home and family life.
“The Motability Scheme opens a disabled persons world”, says Sarah Rodgerson, who has been on the Scheme for 13 years and wouldn’t be without her WAV. Until her diagnosis of Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, Sarah Rodgerson, now 57, worked as a charity fundraiser. Mum to daughters Florence and Abigail, and married to her husband Carl, family life was the usual balancing act between school, work and ferrying the girls to hobbies and friends.
Living in Bourne, Lincolnshire, weekends would be spent helping Abigail with her pony, finding time to relax, gardening and going for family walks. It was only when Sarah started to get pins and needles in her legs that she became concerned. “I was very confused when I first got MS as it came as a bolt out of the blue,” explains Sarah. The initial prognosis by the neurologist was that Sarah would need a wheelchair occasionally as she was struggling to walk. To meet her needs, and accommodate her family, Sarah’s first vehicle on the Scheme back in 2007 was a seven-seat Renault Scenic. Access to Work funded an Autochair swivel seat that turned and locked into a wheelchair base when out of the car, which meant Sarah could still get to her office and continue to work.
If you’d like to find out more about adaptations available on the Motability Scheme, you’ll find information, including videos showing the adaptations in action, by clicking here.
However, MS doesn’t follow a script and Sarah had a very severe attack just a year later which left her unable to use her legs and with very little body strength, so she had to permanently use a powered wheelchair and give up work. The change meant Sarah needed the house converted to cope with her disability, including a hoist and wet room. With a direct payment package Sarah employs two carers to help cope with everyday life.
To help her communicate Sarah uses a Grid Pad screen which she operates by moving her eyes across a keyboard. Even short sentences can take her a long time to complete and a great deal of effort and concentration.
Sarah has now had three different WAVs something she says gives her the essential freedom of being able to get out and about.
“At first I really knew nothing about the Motability Scheme, but they took a great deal of time and care to guide me through what I needed,” says Sarah. “From the start, it was clear that I was dealing with an organisation that understood that their mission was to help disabled people keep mobile.”
As well as local trips out, Sarah is able to venture far and wide visiting friends in Bournemouth, Glasgow, Newcastle and Abingdon. “As I have to take quite a lot of equipment with me, public transport really isn’t an option, so having my own vehicle is the only way I could do it,” says Sarah.
“We’ve been several times to the Netherlands to see our daughter Florence who was at university in Groningen,” adds Carl. “We had to get a roof box for those trips for all of Sarah’s gear, as one of the drawbacks of the WAV layout is you lose all the luggage storage in the rear as Sarah is there.”
Home and abroad
The couple love travelling to the Netherlands as it’s flat and great for wheelchairs and have tried both the ferry from Harwich to Amsterdam and Euro Tunnel. Despite the drive on the other end, the latter wins, especially as WAVs get priority boarding on the tunnel which makes it quick and painless.
“They’ve been brilliant trips and it wouldn’t have been as easy to make them without my WAV,” adds Sarah.
“We also discovered that amazingly nobody in the Netherlands abuses disabled parking spaces!” And even when things didn’t quite go to plan on one of the journeys, the RAC breakdown cover included in the lease quickly got them back on the road. “We had a puncture once,” explains Carl. “But the Scheme sorted that all out without any fuss. It gives you massive reassurance that Sarah can travel further afield.”
“Without my WAV I couldn’t manage at home and have a normal family life,” agrees Sarah. “It’s really made it possible for me to have a full life.”
How the Motability Scheme can help
The Motability Scheme helps you to get mobile by exchanging your mobility allowance to lease a new car, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, scooter or powered wheelchair, all of which come with our fully inclusive lease package, so you can get on the road and enjoy everyday freedom: it’s simple, affordable, reliable.
Lifestyle Magazine: Our free quarterly customer magazine
This article was originally featured in our customer magazine, Lifestyle.
We hope that when you placed your application, you took advantage of the offer of Lifestyle, our free quarterly customer magazine, which is delivered free of charge and provides you with up-to-date information about Motability Scheme news, as well motoring and mobility stories and advice. The magazine is sent at the end of January, April, July and October and is also available to read online.
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