Bespoke solution allows retired Gulf War veteran to aim for medal glory at the 2020 Paralympic Games
Healthcare equipment supplier Gerald Simonds is delighted to be supporting retired Army Captain Ken Hargreaves as he aims to qualify for the Team GB archery team for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
It was while watching the Invictus Games in 2016 that Captain Hargreaves was inspired to join his local archery club.
Through a combination of hard work, determination and the support of various organisations, including The Adam Millichip Foundation, Worshipful Company of Fletchers, Help for Heroes and the World class coaching and support provided by the Invictus pathway team, by 2017 Captain Hargreaves had been selected as a member of the UK contingent for the Toronto Invictus Games. He finished fourth in both archery events – a great result, considering he’d only taken the sport up 12 months previously.
In 2018 he was crowned British Open Recurve Disabled Champion, achieved the required score for selection for the Para Archery GB Team selection and retained the title of outright British Forces Indoor Recurve Champion, which he first won in 2017.
Captain Hargreaves was forced to take medical retirement from the army as a result of a spinal cord injury, organ damage and hearing loss which he suffered while serving as a specialist trauma nurse on the front line in Iraq.
During the intervening years, Captain Hargreaves has used various wheelchairs and other equipment to assist with his independence and several years ago contacted Gerald Simonds to see what mobility solutions they had which could assist him further.
“I have always refused to let my condition hold me back and when I spoke to Andrew Drummond at Gerald Simonds and explained my situation, he suggested several items which he thought would help me,” explained Captain Hargreaves.
Following numerous conversations and assessments, both at home and at the company’s headquarters in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Andrew recommended the TiLite TR manual wheelchair.
The TiLite TR features a lightweight dual titanium frame design which provides increased frame rigidity for sport use and ease of transfer. To complement the TiLite TR, Andrew suggested Captain Hargreaves used a FreeWheel attachment for competing as this has been designed to help wheelchair users negotiate more uneven terrain, something Captain Hargreaves often encounters during competitions.
For increased peace of mind and independence, Captain Hargreaves has had a SmartDrive fitted to his TiLite TR. The SmartDrive is a power assist device which fits to the wheelchair and provides the user with increased levels of power and freedom.
The combination of the three pieces of equipment from Gerald Simonds means Captain Hargreaves now has more independence than ever before.
He added: “I have had many wheelchairs over the years but nothing compares to the TiLite TR as it is great for outdoor use so perfect for when taking part in archery competitions and the extra stability which is provided by the FreeWheel ensures I can get across terrain which would not be possible for many wheelchairs users.
“As anyone using a wheelchair will tell you, having as much independence as possible is vital, and thanks to the SmartDrive I now have more freedom than ever before as I can go off into town on my own and not have to worry about how far I am travelling as it has a range of up to 14 miles. Any concerns about inclines are also eliminated as the power from the SmartDrive does the work for me.”
Following his success at the Invictus Games, Captain Hargreaves and his coach are now aiming for medal glory at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
Doug Robinson, Commercial Manager of Gerald Simonds Healthcare, commented: “We should never forget the danger which all our servicemen and women encounter on a daily basis and hearing how Captain Hargreaves has overcome the limitations of his disability is a truly inspiring story.
“On behalf of everyone at Gerald Simonds I would like to wish him the very best of luck as he looks to qualify for Tokyo 2020.”
Captain Hargreaves concluded: “I would like to say a big thank you to Andrew and the rest of the team at Gerald Simonds. Their understanding of my requirements and level of customer care is second to none and I would not hesitate in recommending them to anyone else looking for products to increase their independence and confidence.
“I would also like to give a special mention to my amazing assistance dog Fred – his names stands for Friendly Reliable Exuberant Dog and as anyone who has met him, will testify, his name describes him perfectly!”
Established in 1983, Gerald Simonds is a UK supplier of high-quality, lightweight manual, powered and standing wheelchairs, powerdrives, seating and pressure care products.