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He Gets Around With “Dancing Wheels”
Mitch Nelson has “dancing wheels” that start with an ordinary office chair for use indoors. His father, Brad Nelson, is working on refining the idea to give Mitch better mobility outdoors as well.
“My whole life has been an engineering project,” Nelson says.
Born with arthrogryposis that affects his arm strength and hip joints, Nelson, 52, noticed his mobility greatly decreased recently after years of working at a computer. At his first swing dance with friends, he discovered he could only stand for 2 or 3 min. at a time. He purchased an inexpensive round-top rolling stool so he could sit and take the weight off his hips. The chair worked a few times before the seat sank into the pistons and broke.
The next chair he purchased was a heavy-duty office chair, and Nelson replaced the double wheels with rollerblade wheels that are easier to maneuver and won’t mar the dance floor. The light-up wheels also add a little fun.
His father hoped to use the idea to prototype a chair that Nelson could use to get around on sidewalks and also use for dancing.
“I went to the mall and got stuck on a sidewalk crack because of the small wheels,” Nelson says, so he decided to have two different chairs.
For the traveling chair, Brad added a frame and three 8-in. wheels, with the front one a multidirectional wheel. It comes in handy if Nelson has to wait in line or when there are no electric carts available at stores. He also uses it for exercise to build up his hamstring muscles by pulling himself forward with his heels through the mall.
Because of his lack of arm strength, a wheelchair isn’t a good option. But Nelson emphasizes that core strength and balance are necessary to get around with his modified chairs.
“Now I can walk a little farther confidently,” Nelson says, adding dancing and his other activities help him lose and keep weight off. Plus, he is much more social.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Mitch Nelson, 2003 Cambridge Lane SW, Olympia, Wash. 98512 (ph 385-220-5115; gleeby@gmail.com).

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2022 - Volume #46, Issue #6