Father of two, Kent Jensen, lives with his wife, two children and two dogs in a country side house, not far from Gothenburg, Sweden. He loves spending time outdoors and he’s an active member of “Beard - A Lifestyle”. In 2006 he was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. At first he managed to get around using crutches, but as of four years ago, he’s been confined to using a wheelchair. A little over a year ago he got himself a Chair Topper for his car and now he’s got his sights set on the Hunter Exam.
- Before I got the Chair Topper my life was very different, Kent says. When I dropped off my daughter at her preschool, the teachers had to meet us outside, at the gates. Today I’m able follow her inside, like all the other parents. With the Chair Topper I’m not dependent on anyone else. I’m able to get out!
Kent describes the summer of 2014 as an all-time low. He had neither wheelchair, ramp nor car. He was more or less a prisoner in his own living room. He could only sit by the window and watch, as his kids played in the lawn sprinkler. According to himself it was that summer that made him to the outdoors person he is today. Nowadays he’s outside, more or less the entire day, between dropping off and picking up his children at school. Either in the woods using his scooter or at home in the garden in his wheelchair, but always accompanied by his two dogs.
Family is important to Kent, it shows, especially when he talks about the support he gets from them.
- I’m lucky to have such a fantastic family. My big boy helps me with all the heavy duties around the house, like mowing the lawn and my wife does carpentry. She was the one who told me to apply for the car allowance and she’s the one who peps me into thinking positive. Without her I would never have had the mind-set: “Nothing is impossible!”
A big part of family life is of course being together and doing things together. Every day things like shopping for groceries. But as the wheelchair became a fact, Kent could no longer come along when the family went shopping. There simply wasn’t any room for the wheelchair. Today things are very different for the Jensen’s.
- I’m probably not much use when we’re shopping, but at least I’m there, Kent states.
He goes on to describe the type of freedom that comes with the ability to be spontaneous. For example, visiting his parents in the neighbouring county. The wheelchair wouldn’t fit with the rest of the luggage and Kent’s mother had to get a rental wheelchair every time the family was coming for a visit.
- We could never do any spur of the moment visits. Today we just hoist up the wheelchair on the roof and go. It’s hard for me to find the words for how big of a difference it makes. It is as if I have been given two legs that will carry me where ever I want to go. It is… freedom. That is really the best word to describe it. Freedom.
Apart from the lush beard, Kent’s most noticeable feature is his incurable optimism.
- I’ve decided to take the Hunter Exam. No one around here hunts for fox, badger or boar. I want to do my part and help manage the local game population. I got the idea when I heard that you could get a permit to hunt from a vehicle, such as an ATV. For the shooting tests I’ve found an accessible shooting range not far from here. Right now I’m studying the theory at home and I’ll be taking the exam this autumn. Come spring I’ll do the shooting tests and then I’m done.