It was 2009 when doctors in Mumbai told Imran Qureshi that his lower-body has been paralysed and he has to live his life on a wheelchair. It was tough to digest for him and his family. His family decided to take him to his native place Gyanipur village in Uttar Pradesh’s Sultanpur district. His family may have thought that Imran can’t do anything in life now, but Imran saw this adversity as an opportunity.
Imran (now 29-year-old) refused to go back and live a life that is of no use and joined the rehabilitation centre run by the Mumbai Paraplegic Foundation. In the next few years, things seemed to be changing. Imran began performing various acrobatics and synchronised acts. As he loved doing painting and swimming before falling ill, he kept practising them in the rehabilitation centre.
As a result, Imran won the first prize in the state-level painting competition that was held in Gujarat in 2014. He also won a gold medal in a state-level swimming contest held in Jalandhar in 2016.
As many other wheelchair users, he could have also focused on his own life and do something exemplary in his life through his passion for swimming and painting. However, he wanted to devote his life to others who are paraplegics.
“Indian society thinks that if you use a wheelchair you can’t do anything in life. But many in foreign countries live life on a wheelchair without seeking help from others. And it is absolutely possible,” confirmed Imran.
Imran first worked on his own condition by researching and experimenting with various techniques to live on a wheelchair. When he became confident he started organising camps for other such people in different cities of India. He devotes 10 days for 10 people and trains them so well that they can live life on their own.
Things wheelchair users get to learn in Imran’s camps
●Active daily living skills
●High and low bed transfers
●Bowel and bladder management
●Wheelchair and cushion fitment
●Transport tips and technique
●Questions you or family members need to be answered
Imran said that in the last three days of every camp, he takes the participants out of the camp to show some tourist places, watch movies, travelling in public transport and having a meal. “This is to let them feel that they have a life out of their home. They can live a life as normal and free as others do,” added Imran.
Imran does this for free. However, sometimes he charges for food if he doesn’t find anyone to sponsor his camp. Imran tries hard to provide a better stay and high-quality wheelchair for training. So far he has coached more than 150 people from the various city in India.
Imran delightedly told that he receives calls and messages from those who have participated in his camp sharing the good news that they can now do everything from using toilets to taking shower, travelling and other stuff that a normal person does.
“This improvement also gives hope to the families of such people that there is a happy life on a wheelchair,” said Imran in excitement.
Accept the fact
After spending whopping money on treatment parents and other family members come to know that there is no other option than to use a wheelchair. “Which is very heart-wrenching for family members. As a result, they don’t see any future too. But this attitude needs to be changed,” said Imran.
He further added that this is the main moto of his camps- to let the families and society know that life does not end after going through the spinal cord injury treatment and facing paraplegia.
Important things a wheelchair user should have
To make wheelchair users’ life easier, Imran suggests that they should have English toilet and customised wheelchair with good quality of it’s cushion. He said many use the wheelchair that they received from the hospital which is not good enough to live life on the wheelchair.
“The good quality wheelchair costs around Rs. 1.5 lakh which gives people like us much comfort and it is easy to use too,” explained Imran.
Imran suggests approaching the company called ‘otto bock’ which makes customize wheelchairs. “They make a wheelchair that suits your body. You will not be tired of sitting on such wheelchairs,” suggested Imran.
Suggestions for family members
It is seen that when a doctor tells the family that the patient will not be able to walk and he or she has to use a wheelchair. Family members ignore this and try other doctors’ treatment. Many also approach to those who are known to be spirituals in society.
“Family should accept what doctors say and help paraplegics to invest money and energy on learning skills and techniques to live life on a wheelchair,” added Imran.
He also urges family members and society to don’t see them (paraplegics) with demeaning eyes. They are also human beings. They just lost the movement of some parts of the body, they have not done anything wrong. “Encourage them to go out and live life to the fullest,” urged Imran.
Imran has a plan to open an institute for paraplegics where he can train them in a large number. However, he needs a huge fund for the same.