Language
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Swedish

Insurance Funding Request

Did you know Firefly products may be funded by your insurance?

Learn More
Back to Firefly Blog

Life’s a beach?

Life’s a beach?

We are very fortunate to live in an absolutely beautiful part of the world where we have access to all sorts of “beauty spots”, including a lot of beaches.

Since we are in Northern Ireland, it certainly doesn’t offer a lot of sunshine (slight understatement) although that doesn’t stop me feeling it is stunning.

There’s a particular country park within about 15minutes of our house that I like best because it has access to both coastal and forest walks.

Unfortunately...as most wheelchair users will know all too well, sand and wheels just do not mix.

If you don’t have a wheelchair in your life, think if you have ever tried pushing a pram along the beach?! It is tough going, especially on the softer sands.

Our triplets are now six and we often go to one of our local beaches on weekends to spend some time together outdoors.

Jacob’s wheelchair is such an important part of his life because he wouldn’t be able to get round without it.

Obviously no parent wants their child to have to use a wheelchair but it is also something that allows him independence he’d otherwise not have.

The flip side of it is when we all head to the beach and his wheelchair becomes a hindrance instead of a help.

I have Multiple Sclerosis (MS) so I’m not really physically strong enough to be a lot of help to my poor husband.

There have been some pretty dodgy moments where we’ve genuinely thought “yip, we’re going to have to abandon the chair”.

Imagine having to ring an OT to explain your child’s SUPER expensive wheelchair is literally lost to the sea?!

Through a lot of trial and error we’ve worked out the best places to take him so that we can get down close to the water without risking wheelchair abandonment.

Having said that, he does suffer from impulsivity issues and has tried to wheel himself right into the sea so that his chair, which he calls “Dolphy” (he has dolphins on his wheels) can “have a swim”.

MS aside, there have been some pretty impressive reaction times to grab him before the chair AND Jacob are lost at sea!

Dolphy has had a gentler approach to swimming by having a bath (in several sections) when we get home to wash sand off all the important mechanisms.

Ideally, there’d be a lot more wheelchair accessible beaches around.

We are incredibly lucky though that we have a beach very close to our house that offers free hire of a beach wheelchair courtesy of the “Mae Murray Foundation”.

We were the first people to ever try it way back in summer 2019 and it is just brilliant.

We got to take Jacob down to the water and let him see his chair getting wet, which he thought was hilarious, and then go a walk across the softer sands.

It really was a magical day, such a simple thing has become one of my fondest family memories.

The whole experience has taught me that yes, disability can present you with a variety of difficulties that can range from mildly irritating to down right infuriating.

Before I had the triplets, I was a learning disability nurse so I’d been taught how to assess, plan, implement and evaluate interventions that were caused by health challenges.

This has set me up well for managing similar things with our son, although it’s much harder to do that when you are heavily emotionally invested and are literally living it 24/7.

Over the years I have learnt that there is definitely a degree of positive risk taking.

Are beaches “easy” places for us to visit? Absolutely not. In saying that, does it enrich our family time together? Absolutely.

So if you can, take the risk.

As long as it’s not dangerous, you will either succeed and have a brilliant time, or you’ll have (hopefully…) funny memories to look back on!

Firefly Blog

Real life stories, issues and experiences of day to day life by special needs parents and
healthcare professionals.

Katrina Dorrian

Meet Our Blogger

Hi! I'm Katrina, I have 5yr old triplets; one who has spina bifida, hydrocephalus and epilepsy. I also have MS, so we've a busy (but happy) house!

View Katrina’s Profile

Become a Firefly Blogger

Would you like to write for Firefly? Join our blogger network of parents, therapists and professionals.

Get In Touch

Become a subscriber today

Join over 40,000 subscribers to our weekly newsletter with insightful articles just when you need them.

Join Mailing List

By using our site you agree to our use of cookies. Click here for more info.

Accept & Close

No Interest if paid in full in 6 months on

Purchases on $99+

US Customers only. Subject to credit approval. See terms below

Paypal Credit

Pay now or pay over time with PayPal Credit. Just use PayPal Credit in PayPal checkout.

Subject to credit approval.

Purchases of $99+:

No Interest if paid in full in 6 months on purchases of $99 or more.

  • A minimum monthly payment is required and may or may not pay off the promotional purchase by the end of the 6 month period.
  • No interest will be charged on the purchase if you pay it off in full within 6 months. If you do not, interest will be charged on the purchase from the purchase date at the Purchase APR applicable to your account.
  • For New Accounts: Variable Purchase APR is 25.49%. The APR is accurate as of 6/1/2018 and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate (as defined in your credit card agreement). Minimum interest charge is $2.00.
  • Individual items that are less than $99 qualify for special financing when combined for a total of $99 or more in a single transaction.
  • Multiple separate transactions of less than $99 per transaction cannot be combined to meet the minimum purchase amount.

Purchases of $98.99 or less:

Buy now and pay over time with PayPal Credit when you spend $98.99 or less.

  • If you pay your balance in full each month by the payment due date that is on your statement, you can avoid paying interest.
  • Or, make minimum monthly payments, or any additional amount of your choosing, until you've paid off your balance according to your standard account terms. Please note, interest charges may apply.
  • We'll send you email reminders when your payments are due. You can also keep track of your account and view your statements online at any time.

About PayPal Credit

  • PayPal Credit is a reusable credit line available on purchases at thousands of stores that accept PayPal. It's also available for purchases on eBay and exclusively at thousands of other online stores. Plus, it comes with the same security and flexibility you trust from PayPal.
  • If approved, we start you off with a minimum credit line of at least $250. See FAQs for more info.
  • For New Accounts: Variable Purchase APR is 25.49%. The APR is accurate as of 6/1/2018 and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate (as defined in your credit card agreement). Minimum interest charge is $2.00. See Terms and Conditions tab for more info.
  • If you miss a payment your late fee could be up to $38, even less if it's your first time. See FAQs for more info.

Please wait...