Local Disabled Model is Walking Again!

Lana Kurasidze is a well-known disabled resident of Ballymun.  Over the past few years, many local people will have seen her making her way to the local shops, health centre and sports centre, using her legs to pull herself along in her wheelchair.  But since last November, Lana has slowly regained her ability to walk on her own – you are now more likely to see her walking to places as far afield as the OMNI Centre and Poppintree Park!  She has achieved this using a revolutionary new walking aid from America – the LifeGlider.  Lana is the first user of LifeGlider in Ireland and she wants to share her good experience with other people with mobility issues by promoting it in Ireland!

Lana became disabled and a wheelchair user in 2006, when she suffered very reduced mobility, impaired sight and a speech impediment following surgeries to remove an aggressive brain tumour.  Lana was only 21 when this happened, working in the hospitality industry and at the start of a promising modelling career.  She has not been able to work since then, although she continues to pursue her modelling career part-time (for fundraising).  In her modelling work, she does not hide her disability but highlights it to demonstrate that disability is a normal part of life and should not be a barrier.  She has been featured in articles in the national and local press and regularly participates in charity fashion shows.  She is also active in working on behalf of other people with disability in Ballymun, where she is chairperson of a local advocacy group, the Ballymun Active Disability Interest Group (BADIG).

Lana has always refused to let her disability stop her from leading a full, empowered and joyful life.  She is a member of her local gymnasium and regularly practices cardio-vascular, flexibility, weights and core-strength training.  She is very active on social media, where she shares videos of her exercise workouts and provides advice and support to people in Ireland and Europe on safe exercising with disability.  It was during a social media discussion that Lana first became aware of a new walking aid from America, the LifeGlider.

LifeGlider was invented by Robert Karlovich, founder and CEO of Core Mobility Solutions of San Jose, California, USA.  It was released in the USA in autumn 2020, following a very successful trial roll-out.  LifeGlider is radically different from other rollator / walkers.  Unlike traditional walkers which provide support at the front of the user, LifeGlider instead supports from behind.  It secures the user’s centre of gravity at four key points of contact on the pelvis, providing the support and reassurance for upright hands-free walking.  Upright walking means no more looking down at the ground when walking – the user looks straight ahead like everyone else!   With the centre of gravity secured, LifeGlider users are free to move in ways that are impossible with traditional walkers and with no device obstructing the front of their bodies, they can cook, hug, and even dance!  LifeGlider also incorporates a seat which can support the user’s weight when required.  It is the only walking aid that prevents falls even if a user loses their grip or becomes unbalanced.

Lana is a very enthusiastic early adopter of LifeGlider.  She has tried other walkers / rollators which she found to be uncomfortable and with an ever-present risk of falling.  LifeGlider provides her with the confidence and support for longer and more frequent walking, opening up her life and promoting greater long-term mobility.

At present, there are no plans to market LifeGlider in Europe.  It appears that there may be an opportunity for a local business to become an agent for this exciting new mobility aid.  Lana has established a number of useful contacts at LifeGlider and would be happy to talk to any local business in the Ballymun area who might be interested in exploring licensing / agency opportunities.  Equally she would be happy to provide advice and guidance to local people who may be considering importing one for their own personal use.

We are grateful for funding for this website and other activities received through the Dublin Northwest Partnership from:

“The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) 2018-2022 is funded by the Irish Government through the Department of Rural and Community Development and co-funded by the European Social Fund under the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL) 2014-2020”

© 2021 Ballymun Active Disability Interest Group

Sillogue Neighbourhood Centre

Sillogue Road

Ballymun

Dublin 11

Email: badig.secretary@gmail.com