In September 2014, 9-year-old Samantha lost her ability to walk due to Ullrich Congenital Muscular Dystrophy, for which there is no treatment or cure. She lives with her father, Joe, and her sister in Long Island, New York.
Ulrich Muscular Dystrophy is a congenital muscle disease that was first diagnosed seventy-five years ago. It causes the muscles to be small and weak; the joints are lax at first then begin to tighten as the child grows older. While living withUlrich is undoubtedly challenging, with the right care and medical equipment, people with the disease can live full and meaningful lives.
Listen to Joe's comments about how the Tailwind has given his daughter the freedom and independence she deserves.
As Samantha reached the age of 9, she began getting tired more easily, and it became difficult for her to walk unassisted. Her father, Joe, had to get a manual wheelchair for her at times. The manual wheelchair was very restrictive for Samantha because she wasn’t strong enough to push it on her own. She had to rely on other people to take her where she wanted to go.
Joe needed to find a permanent chair for Samantha, and he was determined to find a solution that would allow his daughter maximum independence and mobility.
1st Wheelchair Evaluation: The Competition
As Joe traverses the life of Ullrich alongside his daughter, he often turns to the Internet for help. A lot of the information he gets comes from support groups and related online message boards. Joe used these sources to find out which wheelchairs to evaluate for Samantha.
One of the wheelchairs he heard a lot about on the message boards was a popular competitive product to Tailwind. He scheduled an appointment with that company, and the sales rep came out to their house with a demo unit.
It took about half-an-hour to get all of the controls and settings on the wheels set up, and Joe felt concerned about the complexity. A wheelchair is an important purchase, and he wanted to try the chair for about a week to ensure he was making the best choice for his daughter. Unfortunately, the salesperson did not have a demo unit for him to test, so Joe and Samantha were forced to make their decision about that particular chair based on a 30-minute trial.
While he did see the benefits of the power assist technology, the perfect wheelchair for his daughter needed to come with the simplicity and ease-of-use that would give Samantha the maximum amount of independence.
Joe went back to the message board and relayed his experience and desire to review some more options. He received recommendations for the Tailwind Power Assist Wheelchair and decided to evaluate it as a potential solution for Samantha.
2nd Wheelchair Evaluation: Tailwind
Shortly after Joe reached out to Clinton River Medical Products, Andy Maas arrived with a Tailwind. Here’s Joe’s own words about his experience:
I put Samantha in the chair that he had brought with him and she sat down. He [Andy] said, “The button is on the side. You put it on a setting that’s comfortable for you and you go.”
She looked down, hit the button up to 6, and she just started going. She’s going over grass, she’s going over rocks, she’s going over everything. I was like, “That’s it? There’s no other settings or adjustments?”
Andy said, “No. You just put it on 1 if you’re feeling strong, and you put it on 10 if you’re feeling weak, or anywhere in between.” So right off the bat I was amazed at the ease-of-use for the chair.
The best word that I can describe for the chair is freedom. Sammie doesn't need anyone to push her anymore. No more, “Dad, push me here. Dad, push me there.” When she’s in this chair, you cannot keep up with her. It’s crazy!
She has a one-on-one aide in school that they assigned to her for the past few years and the aide can’t keep up with her. When she goes outside for recess she can play around on the lawn, play games with the other kids, and she’s included in everything that she wouldn’t be if she was in a regular chair and someone was pushing her around. It was an instant change in her once she was put in the Tailwind chair that made her mobile. That she was able to move around. She was just smiling ear-to-ear. You gotta see it to believe it!
I can’t express it in words how happy we are with the product and with the way the company treats us. Clinton River was amazing – there’s no other way to put it.
It’s such a difficult process. You’re so lost. You’re trying to evaluate all of this stuff and it’s all new to you. You have no idea if you’re getting raked over the coals or being lied to. You have to trust in someone. And it turns out I made the right choice because Clinton River is definitely a company I can trust. I have no doubt in my mind. I love this company. I really do!
After we sent Joe this case study for his approval before we published it online, he wrote us this email:
That's great Krista...I read the case study. I had a huge smile on my face listening back to that. Reason being? I feel exactly the same today as I did when you called. The Tailwind is an amazing product, and I just can't express how much it helps my daughter Sammie. It's a part of her now, it's an extension of her body, and it gives her all the freedoms she wouldn't have otherwise, with ANYTHING else on the market. I can't say enough good things about it...
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