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How assistive technology can transform lives

Today I’m going to share a dose of inspiration with you. It comes in the form of my cousin David, who worked as a professional Hollywood stunt man for almost 10 years.

Back in 2009, when he was working as Daniel Radcliffe’s double in the Harry Potter series, a stunt went wrong and it left him paralysed from the chest down and with serious spinal injuries.

rachelmiller_davidholmesDavid is incredible, he always has been, he’s one of most positive people I know and has an enthusiasm for life which is infectious.

We’re pictured at the David Holmes Cricket Cup charity match he held in London last year to raise money for the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH), who treated him after his accident. He’s now an official ambassador for the hospital.

David has had to adapt to life in a wheelchair as a tetraplegic and now lives in a house that he designed and built himself in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, UK.

It allows him to do everything from operating the lighting to switching on the TV, managing the security system and opening the front door, with his iPad. It’s seriously smart.

He has just released a series of videos alongside law firm Irwin Mitchell showing how assistive technologies can help those living with a disability to gain independence. He takes viewers for a tour around his house and you can see the videos online and below.

Writing in the Sunday Times, Neil Whiteley, head of the serious injury team at Irwin Mitchell, says: “We take so much for granted, it can be hard to understand what difficulties people with disabilities face,” says . “Costs and budgets vary widely, so the guide includes innovations and adaptations that aren’t unrealistic. Hopefully, it will inspire people who may recently have been injured and are struggling to come to terms with their future.”

The Sunday Time quotes David, who says he wants to put his knowledge to good use by setting up a hotel chain targeted at those who have spinal injuries and require medical care. “If I can give someone else the opportunity I’ve had and the technology that’s made my life easier, then I’m up for it,” he says. “There’s a big world out there and, unfortunately, hotels just don’t allow for the freedom I have at home. I want to change that.”

I’m a huge fan of technology, and write regularly about how I use it in my daily life.

David’s story inspires me and I hope it does you too,

Rachel

Post author: Rachel Miller

First published on All Things IC 13 June 2015.

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