Brad and Liz Soden had always led an active lifestyle, going hiking, camping and off-roading near their Parker, Arizona, home whenever they got the chance.
But Liz was left a paraplegic nearly 20 years ago, in August 1999: The front left tire of the truck she was driving blew out and she crashed into an embankment. Brad, her then-boyfriend, and their three young sons were injured, while she was left paralyzed from the waist down.
For many couples, that kind of injury would bring an end to a lot of things. When Liz told Brad to essentially move on without her, he not only proposed in front of an entire room full of nurses, but he figured out a way for her to be able to join the rest of the family during their outdoor excursions.
Liz’s main wheelchair was a standard model and not exactly designed to handle rough terrain. Though her husband had no previous experience in engineering, he began experimenting with different designs that would allow her to enjoy the great outdoors along with the rest of the family.
But Brad did know at least the basics about tracked vehicles from his time serving in the Army during Desert Storm. And he had his “aha” moment after a seemingly innocuous comment from his father-in-law.
“‘Wouldn’t it be cool if you could put tracks on that like a tank?’” he said, and suddenly, “the bells and whistles (went) off in my head and I started searching for light weight track system,” Brad wrote on his Web site.
And that’s the genesis behind the Tankchair, which allows the disabled to enjoy any number of activities that would otherwise be completely inaccessible.
“This joy that I have felt in allowing my wife to conquer her disability is what drives TC Mobility to continue to push the envelope in providing cutting edge solutions to the mobility market,” writes Brad, who now lives in Phoenix with his wife, three sons and two daughters.
“We want (every) family to feel the happiness in getting beyond the sidewalk.”
Check out the video below to find out more about these unique wheelchairs, and share to spread the word!