Mikey Nichols’ fight to walk continues as he moves up in wheelchairs
When Mikey Nichols was paralyzed playing hockey for Monroe High school on Jan 4, 2014, he vowed that he would never be held back by his wheelchair, nor would he let it define who he is. Who Mikey Nichols is, is a fighter and he's won another battle by moving up in wheelchair to one that he can partially manually control.
Nichols, who interned on my show one summer called me in New Jersey 101.5 show. "To get this chair and use this chair, it's so exciting for me"
Getting to this wheelchair wasn't easy for Mikey;
"It's been a lot of work because with this manual chair there's a lot less protection for my front and my upper body" says Nichols
"Being quadriplegic I can't really feel anything from below my nipples and I can't use anything below those so having to strengthen my back muscles, my core muscles, especially my arms because now I have to push the chair on my own"
As for the wheelchair, Nichols says "These are special wheels, they're battery motorized. They connect to an app on my phone it's really cool. They're a little more sensitive because I'm not as strong as the regular person who uses this manual chair, but now this gives me a lot more independence" Which Mikey loves.
"It's great. It makes me so happy. This was something that I really wanted to do, About 2 years ago i made the decision, I started working towards it last summer and this summer I finally got my chair and I'm so excited"
Nichols talked about his continuing journey through wheelchairs;
"To put it into perspective," says Mikey "I remember when I was first getting sized up for the wheelchair that I was going to come home in, they were saying they wanted to give me a sip and puff chair, similar to the one Eric LeGrand uses and I was telling them no I'm going to drive one with my hand." That's not easy since Nichols doesn't have hand movement.
"I have wrist control, I have my biceps so strengthen up those muscles was hard. I worked out 5 days a week for close to a year over at Kessler Foundation with my therapist Jeanelle, it's a long road but sometimes the scenic route is the best route"
I asked Mikey if he ever lets his situation get to him.
"To be honest with you, I just have to keep myself busy. When it gets to me is when I don't keep myself busy and I allow myself to think" says Nichols" Those thoughts are always there but I'm the kinda guy that I can't sit still, even in a wheelchair I'm always doing something"
As long as I continue to work, I listen to music every day that's a big part of me" but Mikey also admits "It gets to me every now and then but you just got to keep pushing forward" Nichols says confidentially
"There's no doubt in my mind that I'm going to continue to improve" Mikey also realizes and appreciates the support he has. "There are so many people in my situation that are so less fortunate" especially when it comes to financial ability.
"I had to pay for this wheelchair out of pocket," says Nichols. "The insurance will only cover one and the more expensive one is the power wheelchair and i need the power wheelchair also because I can't use this chair every single day of my life. I want to work it to the point where I'm in the manual chair 70 percent of the time and 30 per cent in the power but right now i's the opposite"
Mikey is so appreciative to all those who contribute to his foundation to make things like this wheelchair happen.
I am so fortunate that I have the community and the support system that I do and people don't have that when they're in my situation so when I look at that and I look at how fortunate I am. How does Mikey see himself?
" I look at myself as a role model, a figure in the spinal cord injury community that can continue to push the narrative forward and that's what I want to do"
There are some events coming up to help Mikey achieve his goals as he continues to try to walk again. One is a youth ice hockey tournament from June 24-26 another is a golf outing on Aug 7 at the Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough get the information here.
To keep up with Mikey Nichols follow him on Instagram and Twitter at M_Nichs and Facebook at Mike Nichols. If you or someone you know needs support Mikey says
"Please don't hesitate to reach out to me if someone wants support in any way possible" Whatever you need or can do to help Mikey says;
"It's greatly appreciated it's not only helping me but it;s helping the entire spinal cord injury community which is the best part".
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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