Kevan considers himself just one of the guys! He is a full-time wheelchair user who is redefining what accessible is. His message is that accessibility is different for everyone. In his eyes, it is "people helping people." He learned this when he decided to leave his wheelchair in America and his posse volunteered to carry him around Europe. Since then, he has written a book (We Carry Kevan), started a non-profit, and climbed the Great Wall of China. Needless to say, he is an inspiring man with a wonderful outlook on life. So although there are times when he leaves his wheelchair at home, there are plenty of times when he relies on his wheelchair to get him where he needs to go.
Kevan's zest for life is an attraction to people and it's also how Kevan became acquainted with Sunrise Medical. Approximately three years ago, Kevan met a complex rehabilitation technology provider, Nick, at a trade expo for people with disabilities. This was the start of a new friendship. Kevan considers the people in his life as friends, and trusts his friends with recommendations and support. As a trusted friend and advisor, Nick eventually recommended that Kevan consider a QUICKIE® QM-7 Series (now Q700 M) power wheelchair with SEDEO® ERGO™ with C-Me® to meet his seating and mobility needs. So he did, and he couldn't be happier!
Kevan is 34 years old and has used a wheelchair for most of his life. He has a diagnosis of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), type 2. SMA is a group of inherited disorders characterized by a loss of certain nerve cells in the spinal cord. Individuals with type 2 SMA are usually able to sit independently early in development but are unable to walk independently. Those affected with SMA type 2 are usually not able to sit independently by their mid-teens or later.
For much of his life he utilized what he called "hand-me-down" wheelchairs. Kevan remembers using an Everest & Jennings (E&J) wheelchair as a child in the 1990s. In high school, he received his first power wheelchair with a seating system and recline that was built to meet his specific needs.
Reason for Seeking a New Wheelchair
As mentioned, Kevan does not let his disability stop him from participating in any activity! He flies a lot, drives on rough terrain, and is generally on-the-go. This means that his wheelchair sustains a lot of bumps along the way. In 2016, he decided that it was time to replace his current wheelchair.
In the time since he received his last wheelchair, some new things became important to him. He knew he wanted it to be narrow for accessibility in tight spaces. He no longer wanted a molded back, as it just never seemed like a good fit for him. He wanted his next wheelchair to be durable and able to withstand the uneven terrain that he routinely travels on. So with this in mind, he set out to learn what was the latest and greatest in power wheelchairs.
After meeting Nick, they arranged for a mobility evaluation. As an Assistive Technology Professional (ATP), Nick ensured that he completed a full needs assessment which helped to further identify Kevan's goals for a seating and mobility system. During the assessment, the team concluded that there were some specific items that were must-haves for Kevan. This included a narrow base, off-the-shelf seating system, 4-pole motors, shock absorbers/suspension package, multiple power positions including height-adjustable seating, a mute button for his on/off switch, and slide-resistant foot supports.
To be thorough and provide consumer choice, Nick provided Kevan with the opportunity to try different wheelchairs that could meet most of his needs. After trialing a few different power wheelchairs and weighing the pros and cons of each chair, Kevan decided on the QUICKIE® QM-710 (now Q700 M) SEDEO® ERGO™ with C-Me® with a J2® cushion and J3® back.
Funding was another big part of the evaluation. His insurance would cover much of the products, but they were also going to submit to Vocational Rehab to cover many of the non-covered items, as these items are necessary for him to do his job.
Finally, Kevan received funding approval from insurance and vocational rehabilitation, and in 2018, his new power wheelchair was delivered. This power wheelchair met all of his needs and then some! He did not know how much of a benefit he would get from the power-adjustable seat height, but he describes it as a game changer! He once said that he grew up at "belt buckle level," but the C-Me® puts him at eye level. It has improved his interactions with people and some would say he's even more snarky than he was, because he has increased confidence and can look people in the eye.
Kevan uses his wheelchair on all types of terrain and it is often loaded in and out of planes. He puts about 600 miles per year on his wheelchair. Kevan attributes the SpiderTrac® suspension for reducing fatigue by absorbing impacts his body would likely otherwise take and the upgraded speed package allows him to keep up with his friends. The 4-pole motors give him confidence to use his wheelchair whenever and wherever his life takes him.
Kevan drives his power wheelchair with a modified joystick with T-handle. To assist Kevan with accessing the power seating functions he uses the most, Nick reprogrammed some of the assignable buttons on his joystick. For example, his horn is now his height adjustment and his turn buttons are now his tilt controls. Overall, his current setup is meeting all of his needs.
Kevan does not have any paid caregivers in his life. He relies on family and friends to support him when he cannot manage alone. He says that there is an inherent risk in that, but that it comes with a rich return. So the people in his life are people he trusts. Nick was one of those people in Kevan's life. Kevan trusted Nick and in turn, they believed that Sunrise Medical's QUICKIE® power wheelchair would be the best for him. Kevan reports that QUICKIE and Nick delivered.