«Everyone is happy to help, but with BRO we can do things on our own.»
About a year after Scewo fulfils wishes and our adventure on the Schilthorn, we visited Felix and Julia at their home. Felix is now out and about with his own BRO, which they lovingly call Hugo.
During a walk together in the Verna Park in Rüsselsheim, he and his wife Julia told us about their new everyday life. Because BRO has not only changed Felix’s life, but also their relationship.
Aid rather than obstacle
«After Scewo fulfils wishes, we went on holiday together, and that’s when we quickly realised the advantages of BRO,» Julia says. Felix had consciously resisted a wheelchair until then. For him, movement is training, and movements that he no longer does, he is soon no longer able to do because of his limb-girdle dystrophy. «I then realised relatively quickly that a wheelchair, and especially a BRO, is not an obstacle, but rather an aid that would make our everyday lives much easier,» Felix adds. That same week, they decided to no longer be without BRO in their lives.
What is limb-girdle dystrophy?
Limb-girdle dystrophy refers to a group of inherited muscle diseases that lead to paralysis of the muscles of the shoulder and pelvic girdle. It is a genetic defect that has a negative effect on the muscle proteins and leads to the weakening and visible atrophy of the affected muscle parts.
(Source: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Muskelkranke)
Completely new possibilities
Among other things, they chose BRO because it allows them to undertake things together, to go about their daily lives flexibly and independently, and: «The look also played a role. I particularly like the fact that BRO doesn’t look like a conventional wheelchair,» says Felix. Since the two met, Felix’s disability increasingly caused more and more restrictions in everyday life. For example, before BRO, they could do fewer and fewer things together over the last four years and were dependent on a car. «With BRO, we can simply eat a pizza together on the Rhine or go on day trips and visit Frankfurt Zoo together, for example,» Julia tells about their experiences. Something completely new for the two of them: «We have to get used to the fact that suddenly a lot is possible,» Felix adds.
All good things come in threes
BRO has not only had a positive impact on their everyday lives, but also on their relationship: «The mood at home is much more relaxed since Hugo moved in with us,» Julia shares about the new love triangle. «I was always struggling with the fact that I just couldn’t do certain things anymore, and then I got fairly worked up about the situations,» Felix says about the effects of his disability on his temper. Felix can now also support Julia with various things, such as running errands before Julia gets home from work.
Broken lifts: a known problem
A week before BRO was delivered, the lift in their building was broken and Felix could not leave the flat during this time. This is not an exception, he says: «Wheelchair users like me are often confronted with the problem of broken lifts. Especially at railway stations, this is often the case. When the one in our house was broken, I couldn’t go to therapy for a week, which can have devastating consequences on my state of health if it lasts for a longer period of time,» Felix explains the not entirely unknown everyday problem. BRO enables him to leave the house independently and thus also to visit his doctor or therapist.
Stand-up aid included
Due to his disability, Felix often trips over his feet and falls down. «He then can’t get up on his own and unfortunately I am not strong enough to get him back on his feet either,» Julia explains another challenge. «When this happened to us late one evening, I had the idea to use BRO as a kind of stand-up aid,» Felix tells us, visibly proud of his idea. This worked straight away, he says, and they had Felix back on his feet within a few minutes. Shortly before, the two had considered applying to the insurance company for an additional stand-up aid but had not found one that would have worked for them. This additional purchase is now obsolete. Julia concludes: «In the past, we always had to ask our neighbours to help us. And everyone is happy to help us, but we want to be able to do things on our own. With BRO, this is now possible.»