Many non-disabled people tend to feel sorry for people in a wheelchair. But Viola Winkels, for example, knows better than that: Not only did she rely on the rolling support when she was still able to walk, but she is now also actively on the road with Kermit, Krümel and Speedy - as she calls her two wheelchairs and her handbike. What she is afraid of and what annoys her among people with disabilities, she tells us at REHACARE.com.
Name: Viola Winkels Age: 27 City: Vechelde, due to retraining in Bad Pyrmont, Germany Occupation:Re-training as a specialist for media and information services with specialisation on medical documentation (before: trained physiotherapist and former motorist) Impairment: I got myasthenia gravis with tetraparesis.
Viola Winkels: It doesn't need anything special. I like to laugh and I laugh a lot about different occasions.
What have you always been wanting to do and why have you never done this so far?
Viola Winkels: Parachuting. Since I have (although very well adjusted) epilepsy, it's hard to find someone to take me with him. Since my myasthenia also affects the respiratory musculature, I would be too scared in the meantime as well.
Which person has influenced you most? And why?
Viola Winkels: There is not one person alone. Beside my mother, friends (especially my friends in Canada during the high school year, because they were totally open-minded and uncomplicated) and many people I met for therapeutic reasons (e. g. in my favorite rehabilitation clinic). Just because they build you up and show you what you're still able to do.
You have the chance to become the Commissioner for the Disabled in your country. What would you do first?
Viola Winkels: (accessible) living space that is affordable. It annoys me terribly when people say that you can move close to work (or wherever else), if there is no living space or I can't rebuild the apartment for my own needs because the financial means are not available.
In his "The Awesome Wheels Project", Björn Lubetzki wants to show that wheelchairs are not only a means to an end and that they all look the same, by photographing different wheelchair personalities. Viola Winkels has therefore already been photographed by him with her Kermit.
What is especially near and dear to you?
Viola Winkels: My hobbies (geocaching, handbiking) and getting rid of the mistaken belief that you should only use a wheelchair if nothing is possible anymore. I started when I could still walk a few meters and it made so much possible for me. It doesn't mean you'll never stand or walk again.
I would like to be ...
Viola Winkels: ...in Mexico. After ten years I would like to finally meet my guest sister again, whom I met in 2008 during my high school year in Canada.
Which question would you like to get answered?
Viola Winkels: Why is there so much envy amongst people with disabilities? It is often read that people find their disability worse than anyone else's or feel that Person X is not entitled to this and that. It's such a pain in the ass.
What else I wanted to say about me...
Viola Winkels: If life tastes bitter, eat a lemon! ;-)