Jim Barr from Stirling, Scotland has been a Sirus customer for almost a year. In 1998 he encountered a spinal tumour which left him unable to walk. After many years driving a standard car with adaptations, Jim was struggling with transferring and lifting his wheelchair in and out of the car. He had to ask for help from family members even to make the smallest journey. Jim tells us how his Sirus disability car has changed his life, and he describes his VW drive from wheelchair vehicle as ‘heaven’.
“After my operation in 1998, I spoke to an Occupational Therapist about driving and I went on to use a standard car with adaptations for many years. I had push/pull hand controls, a steering ball and I lifted my manual wheelchair in and out of my car.
Transferring to a Driver Seat
When I was younger, I was stronger, and I was able to transfer easily to a car seat and lift my wheelchair in and out of the car. But as I got older, I had pains, stiff legs and I developed carpal tunnel. So every time I went out, I had to ask a family member for help. They had to literally lift me in and out of the car. It was such a struggle, even my shoes would fall off trying to get in and out! I couldn’t keep asking my family for help, and it was so frustrating that I couldn’t go anywhere without asking someone to come with me. I couldn’t even go to the local shops on my own as it was so hard to transfer in and out of the car.
Driving From my Wheelchair
It was my doctor who first told me about disability cars where you could sit in your wheelchair to drive. He knew I was struggling and stuck in the house all the time. After speaking to Motability, they gave me all of the information I needed and were really helpful. I applied for a Motability charitable grant towards the cost of the Advance Payment and I was delighted to find out I was eligible. The grant also covered my driving adaptations.
My wheelchair accessible car is perfect for me. It took a few weeks to get used to, but that’s the same as any car. PL Mobility fitted my adaptations and I have push/pull hand controls, auto stop/start, a steering ball and an automated lock for my Salsa R2 wheelchair. The lock feels so secure, it feels like a normal car seat.
New Lease of Life
I use my disability car to visit my family. Before I could drive from my wheelchair, I only used to see them once in a blue moon, at most twice a year as I live 30 miles away. Now I see them at least once a week. My son, daughter and grandchildren all come out in my wheelchair accessible vehicle with me. I can go shopping when I like and have days out around my local area.
The perfect travel companion
I would describe my Sirus disability car as the perfect travel companion! It just makes me feel happy. When I go outside and press the button and the ramp comes down, I literally feel joy in my heart. Being able to drive from my wheelchair means I can just decide where I want to go and I don’t need to bother anyone else, is like heaven.
Coming out of the darkness
My Sirus VW Drive From Wheelchair vehicle has changed my life completely. I have been independent my whole life and I lost this when I had a car which no longer met my needs. I have independence again, which is so important to me and I don’t have to ask for help anymore. Now I can go out anytime I want night or day. It literally feels like coming out of the darkness into the light. As a wheelchair user, being able to look after yourself is really important. I feel like independence is the last thing you have got and it is so important to me. As a disabled person living alone, sometimes you get so fed up sitting in the house. So if I’m feeling a bit down, I just jump in the car. I can go anywhere I like, sometimes I just drive and see where I end up!
The Motability Scheme
The Motability Scheme has been a lifesaver from day one, it’s changed my life completely. Where I live, public transport is so difficult. I cannot get a bus, as some of them have steps so if I go out, I may not be able to get home. Trains are also impossible, as even if I pre-book, there is no one at the station to help me get on and off.
A few months after I had my Sirus Drive From Wheelchair vehicle, a Sirus Aftersales Engineer came out to my home to check everything was ok, which was great service. Also, I wanted to adjust the steering column, so PL Mobility sorted this out for me straight away. Their service was brilliant.
I would recommend Sirus to anybody. My drive from wheelchair disability car is the best thing that has ever happened to me”.
To find out more about Sirus Drive From Wheelchair vehicles, visit our Drive From Wheelchair page.