Nothing Can Take Down This Mama Bear
Mother to five children and married to a pastor for over 17 years, Alicia Reagan, 39, is not your average pastor’s wife. In 2009 while pregnant with her fifth child, she began to feel ill. After lying down because of blinding pain, she woke up — paralyzed.
“When I awoke, I felt weird all over. My arms felt like they weighed 100 pounds each,” says Reagan, who had contracted transverse myelitis and was officially diagnosed with C5 incomplete quadriplegia. Eventually she regained upper body function, including her fingers, and delivered her baby successfully.
Transitioning into her post-injury life, however, definitely posed a challenge. “When I first was in a chair in my community, I was so embarrassed! What helped me was seeing YouTube videos of some amazing and confident wheelchair users. I came to see the wheelchair as my freedom — not my prison.”
Fortunately, her children transitioned much more easily. “They didn’t even care a hoot about the wheelchair. I worried that they would be embarrassed or resent me, but they have not. My youngest three don’t even remember me not being in a chair.”
Her relationship with her husband also took some transitioning. “Jimmy and I decided early on that this was ‘our’ disability, because it certainly has affected his life, too, and neither of us were going anywhere. We took our marriage vows seriously. We want to be the old people that have been married for 50 years. So we don’t run when things get hard,” she says.
Now a popular blogger and vlogger sharing her life, mothering and more, her advice is helping thousands, and she couldn’t be happier. “I love being a disabled, happy voice in a world that still mostly feels that disabled voices are unhappy.”
Drop in on her at aliciareagan.com.
Beach sand and wheelchairs are a notorious combination that every wheelchair user knows well. “Stay off the sand unless the sand is hard!” is what you are told, and definitely don’t scoff at this advice. Getting stuck in the sand is no picnic. However, beach access mat manufacturer AccessRec is hoping to change this with its line of sand mats.
AccessRec sells four different varieties. Its AccessMat is a portable polyester roll made for temporary use, and its DuraDeck 2 beach mat is made of super strong plastic plate. The Mr. Boardwalk mat is a rollout walk-away system made from teak and plastic; and the PathMat is the least expensive, made from a rubber-like surface. Ranging in price from $10 to $33 per square foot, all mats are custom ordered in length.
See them online at accessrec.com/ada-access-mats.
Singing With Heart on Her Sleeve
Paralyzed 25 years ago in a car accident, Katie Rodriguez Bannister, a 51-year- old C5 quadriplegic from St. Louis, Missouri, has created a CD called “Beauty in the Lou: Songs and Poetry” — songs on her journey of living with a disability. You can view two music videos from her album on her site — access4all.com.