Summer Vacation on Wheels
A little bit of pre-planning makes a big difference for people with brain or spinal cord injury.
Written By Sara Baxter
Photography By Steve Jessmore
For Jaimie Moore and her college friends, the early summer trip to Edisto Island, S.C., was a yearly tradition they cherished. The group would rent a large house and enjoy the beach for a week, relishing the chance to reconnect.
In 2010, she brought her boyfriend, Jimmy. On that trip, he proposed marriage. The following year, the annual get-together moved to nearby Litchfield Beach for Jaimie and Jimmy’s wedding.
In 2012, when it came time to plan the annual summer trip, life was very different.
Just two months after their wedding, Jimmy was involved in a car accident, sustaining a C-2 spinal cord injury that left him with quadriplegia. He spent two months in the inpatient program at Shepherd Center before transitioning to the day program. He and Jaimie liked Shepherd and found the city of Atlanta agreed with them, so they decided to move from South Carolina.
“About a month after the accident, my friends asked me if Jimmy and I would be able to make the annual trip,” Jaimie says. “I really couldn’t deal with a decision like that right then. But then I thought about it for a while and decided to give it a try.”
The group rented a wheelchair-accessible house equipped with an elevator. “I thought we were golden,” she recalls. One concern: Would a power wheelchair fit in the elevator? Jaimie had a realtor visit the house and measure it. Sure enough, the elevator was smaller than the chair.
Jaimie briefly considered backing out of the trip, but they found a solution: Bring Jimmy’s manual chair. To make it fit in the tiny elevator, they had to remove the handrails and footplates each trip.
The wheelchair was just one item on a long list the Moores had to deal with on their first vacation after the accident.