After interviewing several CEO’s who had taken up the challenge to spend one work day in a wheelchair to raise funds for LITTLE EDEN, 702’s breakfast host, Bongani Bingwa, decided to try it for himself, but with a difference.
Instead of spending a day in a wheelchair at the radio station, Bongani chose to spend a weekend hanging out in his local shopping mall in a wheelchair. This was both his contribution to the campaign and a wonderful super-spreader awareness effort as his celebrity status certainly grabbed a lot of attention.
But like most of the other participants in this year’s LITTLE EDEN CEO Wheelchair Campaign®, Bongani found life in a wheelchair challenging, to say the least. This is what he said:
“One of the most eye-opening experiences of my life. After a weekend in a wheelchair I have been humbled and have learned to appreciate all the blessings I have. I get to walk away – many don’t have that choice. Let us create awareness and compassion about disability and give the gift of accessibility to those who don’t have it.
“My idea was to get a sense of the full experience as far as is possible to create awareness. Shopping aisles are too narrow, spaces in restaurants the same; lift buttons are sometimes high. Plenty of escalators but not many lifts. Went to get a haircut and it was difficult to accommodate me at the wash basins. Then there are the stares. Pity, confusion, curiosity. And the pointing. Obviously many, many people are kind. Others did not want to deal with it.
“Then there’s the chair itself. This thing is bloody heavy!! Often the focus is on people who have long since made the adjustment but we rarely talk about those newly in the wheelchair. The adjustment is as much theirs as well as for those on whose support they will rely.”
Thank you Bongani for being such a good sport, and for all the wonderful coverage our campaign received on 702. Your contribution is sincerely appreciated.
For those of you who missed out, we hope to be back again in March next year (National Intellectual Disability Awareness Month) with another LITTLE EDEN CEO Wheelchair Campaign® to highlight the plight of people with disabilities.