Ride Pride

It’s weird that the simple fact I am living my life is an inspiration, but it’s just that mentality that made me strive to cloak my wheelchair and disability. I didn’t want to be an inspiration, I just wanted to be me. My wheelchairs were always muted, never colorful or flashy. When I take pictures I always attempt to down-play my quad paws and belly, and never post pictures where I look handicap AF. Why? Because I hate the fact that my disability is the first thing people identify me with, every time, without exception. For some reason, I thought a muted chair would make me look less handicap, but in reality, it just made me look depressed sitting in all gray and black.

I had never really put much thought into color until I was presented with my color options on my new chair. This time there were actually cool colors, unlike the preschool paint palette they offered me last time. I contemplated it for a solid five minutes and went with orange and flat black to represent the very talented San Francisco Giants. This was the first time I had color on a chair, and I liked it. That got me thinking, “this chair should represent me more.” Wheelchair options are cookie cutter with minimal customization, which is why I opted for an after-market upgrade via an Avery Dennison Color Flow vinyl wrap called “The Rising Sun.”

I found Jessica Bonifacio from Vinyl Vixen’s in Mesa, Arizona on Instagram and shot her a message inquiring if she would do a wheelchair. Next thing I know I’m at her shop dropping off my wheelchair for a wrap job. A few days later, BOOM, my new ride.

I knew people would like it, but I didn’t realize people would treat me differently. My wrap and labels make me more approachable and relatable, not to mention it looks dope AF. So ironically, by making my chair stand out I made myself less “handicap,” instead it says this girl is a bad ass, and I am. I am the only person in the world with a chair like this, my chair is just as much of an individual as I am. Now that is dope.

Post pictures of your bad ass modifications #AccessibleArizonaRocks.

Check out Vinyl Vixen’s webpage, Instagram, or Facebook for more information or to schedule a wrap session.

THANK YOU Jimmy Casey for taking these amazing photos. Take a minute to check out his website and Instagram!

Gina Schuh