Pink lightweight folding frame, with quick release self propelled wheels, Frogs Legs suspension forks and standard caster wheels. Mid-range backrest, removable Matrix, Flo-Tech Lite seat cushion and a folding footplate.
Source of Wheelchair: Sunrise Medical who then directed me to Alton Aids in Gateshead
Diagnosis: Ehlers Danlos Syndrome
My wheelchair is a Quickie Xenon that has been customized to suit my needs and lifestyle. Weighing in at just under 11kg, this wheelchair is easy to transport, lift and fold. It has a smart design, including an innovative cross brace that sits neatly under the seat, meaning you barely notice the folding mechanism; something you typically only see on rigid wheelchairs. Due to the nature of my condition and caregivers’ physical limitations I needed a wheelchair that could support my lower back, whilst still being light enough to fold and lift and this wheelchair did just that! The folding wheelchair system is really easy to operate and can be opened with one hand, then to fold the wheelchair back up you simply remove the seat cushion and pull the seat base upwards until you hear the locking mechanism click into place. The locking mechanism keeps the chair in a folded position, where you can then remove the quick release wheels to make the wheelchair even lighter to transport. I usually keep the wheels on, but this option has come in handy when travelling on planes or in a smaller car/taxi! I was given the option to make this chair even lighter by using carbon fibre for the footplate, side panels, etc. But due to the fact I travel a lot, I was advised to make the frame slightly stronger to minimize any damage!
After having no luck with getting a suitable wheelchair from the NHS Wheelchair Services, I spent a lot of time researching manual wheelchairs online. I was overwhelmed by the endless options, but I finally decided that I liked the look of the Quickie Xenon and contacted Sunrise Medical for more information. The next day someone from the company got in touch to chat about my needs, the intended purpose and whether or not they thought this wheelchair was right for me. They also answered my questions regarding cost and whether or not I could try out a Quickie Xenon before purchasing. Thankfully my local mobility equipment supplier called Alton Aids had one in-store, where I was able to take it for a test drive and see if we would be able to transport it with ease. I also got the chance to try out a few other wheelchairs, but the Xenon came out on top for me.
I was able to order a made to measure frame, before picking my preferred seat cushion, backrest, footplate, side supports, etc. I opted for the Matrix, Flo-Tech Lite seat cushion from Invacare and a standard Quickie backrest which was adjustable in height and angle. I also opted to have a bar going across the back of my wheelchair to make the backrest more rigid and supportive, which simply unclicks and hangs alongside the frame when folded. This bar is the perfect place to put a Clip Buddy, by Dream Baby that is designed to go on children’s strollers. This carabiner-style clip has come in very handy when I’ve had lots of shopping, although I find it easier to hang larger bags such as a rucksack over my handlebars as it doesn’t get in the way when someone is pushing me. Even though I typically depend on a carer to push me I still opted no armrests so I could independently maneuver my wheelchair, all of which is very handy in restaurants/theatres etc. It also encourages me to sit up straight as opposed to slouching and leaning on one of the armrests.
I initially had the Carbotecture Forks attached to my front caster wheels, but I soon swapped them to Frogs Legs suspension forks as they provide me with a lot more comfort and absorb some of the vibrations and shocks that naturally occur when sitting in a wheelchair. Without these forks and caster wheels, I couldn’t sit in my wheelchair for very long as I found the vibrations very painful. I also opted for the 12 spoke Spinergy Wheels, as I think they have a sleek appearance in comparison to the 18 spoke version but have since swapped to Loopwheels which have almost completely removed the vibrations that radiated through my frame. I also have one anti-tip bar on the back of my wheelchair, along with a slightly different tipper that allows my carer to safely tip my chair when going up or down a small step/curb.
The various colour options available for the Quickie Xenon were a big selling point for me, as I was bored with having a standard black wheelchair that didn’t meet my needs or fit my personality. Now I not only feel physically comfortable in my wheelchair, but I genuinely love being in something that I have designed and accessorized. In addition to the pink frame, I have decorated my wheels with the JML Wheelie Bright Lights that not only add to my pink theme but are a big help when out in the dark. Finally, I have cable-tied some craft flowers to the inner circle of my wheels, which attracts a lot of compliments as opposed to the usual stares!
Overall, I would highly recommend this wheelchair to anyone who frequently travels or has a car with limited space. It is also fantastic for people who have a disability/medical condition that can fluctuate in symptoms, because you can easily change the backrest height/angle, footplate height/angle and much more with an allen key. These small adjustments make a really big difference and I have been known to do these in the most bizarre of places, including Brooklyn Bridge in NYC and a boat in the middle of a lake in Florida!