We hated that word.
It seemed like a cage... a closed off space, where access to the world was extremely restricted.
It brought up a sense of loss and hopelessness, fear and intimidation.
It felt ugly.
That day, when I was 30 days old, and the doctors told Mum and Dad I had cerebral palsy... that was the first day we had to face my disabilities.
And back then, 'wheelchair' wasn't a word we said.
Now, three years later, with a few official disability diagnoses under our belts, and an intense crash course into life with quadriplegia... the word 'wheelchair' rolls off our tongue (pardon the pun).
Mum and Dad have high expectations for me... they have never said 'no'.
They take me surfing, stand up paddle boarding, swimming, on my bike...
They want to provide me with every single opportunity.
They want me to love life; to have a go at anything.
What an incredible atmosphere to grow up in!
Almost every day, I spend time in my walker.
Some days are amazing, and I do so well.
Other days are heartbreaking and incredibly frustrating, and Mum and I end up arguing. Some days, I take steps with ease. Other days, I can hardly lift a foot.
My latest surgery set me back 18 months, which is a lot of afternoons in a walker!
My latest surgery also left me with one leg shorter than the other... two centimetres shorter. That makes walking a bit tricky!
There's not much we can do, though, so we soldier on.
Mum and Dad will never give up on me walking. Never.
But now, we are no longer afraid of a wheelchair.
Now, we see a wheelchair as a tool to help me gain independence and mobility.
Sure, there will always be problems with stairs and uneven surfaces... and, my vision impairment will sure make my 'driving' skills interesting, but... we can say 'wheelchair' without shuddering, now.
We're in the process of getting me my very first wheelchair.
At the moment, my pram is my wheelchair.
It's getting a bit small, and I need a wheelchair.
We'll probably have to wait for months and months, but we are in the process of getting one.
It will mean our car will have to be modified, and the house will have to be modified. At the moment, the doorways are too small for a wheelchair to pass through them. (Luckily, we are in the process of having the house renovated!)
We expect we will get a few looks, at the shops, but we're used to that.
And, there are many different styles of wheelchair, now. There are incredible designs, allowing people in wheelchairs to go anywhere!
And, we're used to pushing a wheelchair, because of my beach wheelchair!
(Find a beach wheelchair near you)
So, what is International Wheelchair Day? It's a day:Since it was first launched in 2008, celebrations have taken place in Australia, Nepal, Senegal, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States of America.