Ride a mile in their shoes

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Having a go: Rhyan Grant (right) from Sydney FC and fundraising team mate Nathan Beencke, trying hands-free art using head pointers
Having a go: Rhyan Grant (right) from Sydney FC and fundraising team mate Nathan Beencke, trying hands-free art using head pointers

Ever wondered what it’s like to make your way in the world in a wheelchair? Order a cappuccino in sign language? Paint a picture without using your hands?

Those curious enough to find out stepped into the world of the differently-abled last month, raising over $16,000 for Studio Artes programmes and equipment purchases in the process.

Ride a Day in My Wheels Day, now in its eight year, is the brainchild of Studio Artes creative nd wheelchair user, Ollie House. “I wanted people to be able to experience what it’s like to be in a wheelchair.”

Around 60 people did just that when they navigated a series of physical and mental challenges around Hornsby Mall as they tried their hand at painting using headpointers and negotiating an obstacle course in non-motorised wheelchairs.

“People were also blindfolded and had to count out change from a purse to pay for a fictitious item, to see what it was like to be blind,” said Ollie. “Others tried lip-reading and understanding what it’s like to be deaf.”

Rhyan Grant from Sydney FC tried hands-free painting using a headpointer. “It was great to experience things a bit differently, things which I take for granted in everyday life. All of the challenges were difficult to complete.”

Ride a Day in My Wheels is a collaboration between Hornsby Council, Studio Artes, local businesses. Mayor Philip Ruddock and MPs Matt Kean and Julian Leeser also got in on the act, working their way through the obstacle course and trying hands-free painting.

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