At JustWalkers.com, we understand how limited mobility can be a major challenge in an academic setting. That’s why we’re proud to offer the $1,000 JustWalkers.com Mobility Scholarship—open to all college students with limited mobility who use a wheelchair, power scooter, crutches, rollator or other mobility device on a regular basis.
To enter, students write a 600 word maximum essay on the following prompt:
Describe a time when you faced a major obstacle. What did you do and what did the experience teach you?
Essays will be read by a committee and the winner selected based on merit and creative storytelling. The winning essay will be published here on July 31 along with the winner’s name and photo. Funds will be sent directly to the winner’s college/university to be used toward their tuition.
June 30, 2014
About Just Walkers
Started in 2009, JustWalkers.com is your one stop resource for mobility devices. Our inventory includes everything from our popular rollators and walkers to crutches, wheelchairs, canes, power scooters and more. We have products for all ages and body types from petite to bariatric. If you need help choosing a rollator or other mobility device, please visit our Tips and Advice Center or call our knowledgeable customer service team.
Congratulations, Derek Zike! Winner of the 2014 Mobility Scholarship
At the age of sixteen I left home to live with another family in order to play hockey for an elite AAA team in Chicago, Illinois. Halfway through the season I was competing in a national showcase for teams around the country. On January 19th, 2009 I suffered a spinal cord injury in the second game of that showcase. I was skating very fast into the offensive zone on the fore-check and lost an edge. I lost control and didn’t have enough time to brace myself before hitting the wall headfirst. From that moment on I have been paralyzed from the chest down and confined to a wheelchair. This has been the most challenging experience of my entire life. It has challenged me in nearly every way I can imagine. I have had to reconstruct my identity, change my goals, and adapt to the limitations of my disability.
Until my injury, I had always seen myself as a hockey player. My goal was to play college hockey. Everything I did revolved around my sport. I have been known to have a good work ethic and I used that to build myself into the athlete that I was. When I got hurt I lost my idea of whom I was. Over the last five years I have pieced together my new identity. Being on my own and independent at college has allowed me to identify my skills and strengths. I am a strong confident adaptable young man with the hopes of using my skills to become a sport psychologist so that I may help other athletes. After these five long years I finally feel that I am in a good place mentally. This is due in large part to the reformation of my identity and my new goals.
Even though I spent four months in the hospital in intensive care and acute rehab, I didn’t let this major obstacle slow me down. Despite missing almost an entire semester of high school I was able to graduate high school on time and gain acceptance to an excellent four-year college at Miami University. This past May I graduated from college and I plan on attending Miami for graduate school in the fall. If I stay on track I believe that my goal to become a sport psychologist is very realistic.
In the time since my injury I have undergone extensive rehab and have exhausted many resources in order to stay healthy and stay in school. Paying for rehab, caretakers, school, medical supplies, etc. can obviously be difficult. Through this rehab and other personal training I have learned how to best maximize the abilities that I have. For example, I now type with the knuckle on my pinkie, I use a self-propelled chair despite being a quad, and I thread my eating utensils through my fingers. My lack of trunk strength and finger dexterity makes schoolwork extremely tough, but using adaptations like the ones above has helped me be successful. These barriers to everyday life and my ability to overcome them have given me a great sense of achievement. I have learned from this experience that I can adapt to extreme physical demands and limitations as well as change my idea of my self. The ability to reframe my injury into an opportunity for self-discovery kept me from wallowing in self-pity and set me on a path to improve myself.