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
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.