My name is Noel Joyce, I am a product designer and a wheelchair user. As a disabled person having to deal with the difficulties in the built environment I was faced with a decision about a year ago that would lead to the idea that is Pavanu. I had been told that I had type 2 Diabetes that had occurred as a result of poor diet, lack of exercise and being overweight. My doctor told me I would have to take medication to manage the condition, which I felt was the wrong way to go. I asked could I manage it without medication and was told yes, you can even reverse the symptoms, all I had to do was lose weight, change diet and exercise. Sounds easy!
While the change diet part was difficult it mostly came down to yes or yes choices. Yes eat the sugary, fatty thing and be sick or yes eat the foods that are good for you and don’t be sick it was the exercise that was the problem. Its not that the exercise itself was the problem, it was more the conditions under which I could exercise. On my first journeys wheeling my chair to get some exercise I began to feel chronic pain in my back and shoulders. I thought it was muscle pain having not exercised in a while but it was actually the amounts of impacts and vibrations I was feeling through my body culminating in the pain. I faced a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation, I could succumb to diabetes and not do the exercise or I could do the exercise and suffer chronic pain. I thought that there had to be a way to solve the problem and that’s when I got to work….