From cancer survivor to hands-only wheelchair driver
Get to know Karin Hultberg and how vehicle adaptations helped her to drive from a wheelchair later in life. Using driving aids and a wheelchair lift improved her personal mobility and independence.
"Take advantage of the aids that are available. Assuming you have knowledge and access to them", says Karin Hultberg.
The 58-year-old from the south of Sweden had to undergo a long and challenging experience to get to this assumption. Karin's life changed due to multiple surgeries, treatments, doctor's visits, and setbacks. Her journey toward a new sense of mobility included conquering cancer and finding herself in a wheelchair in her 50s.
Vast experience not required – easy-to-use driving aids
During this time, she also began to learn to drive a car with only her hands. She adds:
"There are many great and practical adaptations out there."
In her Ford Tourneo Custom, she uses vehicle adaptation products such as an E-Series wheelchair lift, A-Hatch, Turny 6-Way, and Carospeed. All her life, Karin had a lot of experience driving, she once even worked as a bus driver. Nonetheless, she thought that learning how to use car adaptations such as hand controls, swivel seats, and wheelchair lifts would take longer. She points out:
"Entering and exiting the car at a regular parking space is much more convenient and simpler. Another advantage is the fact that the rear wheelchair lift doesn't take up the space of a disabled parking spot."
Karin has always had an interest in driving. Being the daughter of a farmer in Sweden's Småland region, she began to learn how to operate various vehicles at a young age.
"I was four years old when I first got to steer a tractor together with my dad", she explains with a smile.
When she was a child, her father would encourage her to try new things with phrases like 'Yes you can', followed by 'Give it a try'. Now, as a wheelchair user who uses a modified car and combines multiple vehicle adaptations, these words have become more meaningful to her.
Spreading the gospel of unhindered living
Starting to live with a disability in middle age has provided her with a deeper understanding of accessibility issues. Working as a politician, she wants to actively influence the design of public spaces and share insights on what it's like to be in a wheelchair. Karin is a lecturer and pastor, elected representative, and public figure.
Not only does she inspire others, but she also enjoys talking with people with similar experiences about the potential of vehicle adaptations. When it comes to the response she receives during her lectures, where she also sings and makes music with a friend, she says,
"If sharing my journey helps others, it also helps me mentally."