Living in an Unconventional Body

Friendly Wheels, Issue 9
October 2008

By: Catherine BranchCatherine Branch

Having graduated a few months ago from Rice University in Houston, Texas as a flute performance major, my Amigo and I have recently arrived in Dublin, Ireland to begin work on an international fellowship project about disability advocacy and music.

For the next year I'll be traveling as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow, writing and reflecting on the disabled experience in different parts of the world. Through performing, writing and interacting with musicians, educators, advocates and fellow members of the disabled population, I hope to find meaningful ways to combine my passion for music and disability rights while acting as an advocate for change.

I couldn't ask for a better "second set of legs" than my Amigo. How lucky I feel to have such a reliable vehicle with which to travel, and such a generous, supportive and knowledgeable mobility company to depend on!

I've often imagined what it would be like to experience living in a body without cerebral palsy. Though I'm aware that my body moves unconventionally, its motions and sensations are conventional to me, as they are all I've ever known. All of us are distinct from one another, and thus experience life in different ways. Catherine and Al T.

And how lucky we are to live amongst people who are all so very diverse and dynamic! Such color is added to the world by the uniqueness of its inhabitants - how intriguing it is to interact with the people around us, contemplating our differences and exploring the many different attitudes, sensations, perspectives and thoughts that can make up a life.

As frustrating as my body can be, it is always teaching me something new. In my perspective, the key to living life in an unconventional body is adaptation.

I can only laugh at the clumsy uncooperativeness my body exhibits when I try certain stretches, movements, or actions. But the occasionally disobliging nature of my physical self doesn't feel insurmountable. On the contrary, when I run into obstacles, it feels as though I'm working out a solution to a puzzle. There's never just one way to approach something; always there's the possibility of another path, an alternative route. Often, all it takes is a little time, a little humor and an open mind.

Catherine uses an Amigo TravelMate. She graduated from Rice University in Houston, Texas as a flute performance major. Currently in Dublin, Ireland, Catherine performs and writes as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow.

Read more Friendly Wheels articles here.

News Flash

Supporting Families in Many Helpful Ways

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Friendly Wheels, Issue 123

August 2018


Amigo owners often share inspiring stories. From overcoming a mobility challenge to figuring out innovative ways to go to new places to helping people in their communities, the experiences they share never cease to amaze us.

In this edition of Friendly Wheels, we get to meet Shannon DeWall, JD, an attorney, wife, mother and community volunteer in metro Detroit. Learn more about her story below.

A Family's Story of Reclaiming Hope

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Friendly Wheels, Issue 122

July 2018

In a time of crisis, it may be reassuring to know that there is another family that's experienced a similar situation: the Shepherds. James Shepherd and his mother founded the Shepherd Center, a not-for-profit hospital located in Atlanta, Georgia specializing spinal cord injury rehabilitation, in 1975 in response to an accident James endured as a young man. Learn more about his family's inspiring story.

This Amigo Owner Adds a Little Magic

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Friendly Wheels, Issue 121

June 2018

Carrie Rostollan, a longtime member of the Amigo family, recently visited our Bridgeport facility for the Amigo Mobility Center open house. She shared with us some of her upcoming summer plans and entertained us with her magic tricks! Discover more about Carrie's 'magical' adventures.

Amigo Mobility Blog