Regaining independence after spinal injury with Sirus Automotive

Jenna Fitzgerald tells Enable what it’s like to drive again after sustaining a C5/6 spinal injury. From positive effects on her mental health, and how her Drive From Wheelchair vehicle designed by Sirus Automotive has helped her rebuild her life after spinal cord injury. 

After Jenna Fitzgerald sustained a C5/6 spinal injury in 2014 whilst on holiday in Spain, she was in an induced coma for weeks followed by nine months on hospital. Jenna has worked tirelessly to get her life back on track, which included getting back behind the wheel.

Regaining independence

“Being able to drive again has had a huge impact on my life,” emphasises Jenna. “It has massively benefitted my mental health and wellbeing because I now have my independence back!

“It has been a massive factor in rebuilding my life. Now I have my independence I have the ability to drive to and from college to continue my studies.”

Before she was able to drive again, Jenna had a wheelchair accessible vehicle where she sat in the back, she recalls: “It was so difficult to chat with anyone in the front as it was so noisy.

“It was extremely uncomfortable and any bumps in the road caused excruciating pain. I found that sitting in the back messes with your head, I actually felt like a child again.”

The range of features in Jenna’s new vehicle have helped her with everyday driving tasks like parking. It is also adaptable to Jenna’s needs and preferences.

Versatility

“The conversion is designed with side entry, which can be great for on-street parking,” explains Jenna. “The ramp is also really short, so I can easily park in a Blue Badge parking bay.

“When I don’t feel like driving, I can sit in the front in my wheelchair which is absolutely amazing and totally different from sitting in the back.”

After years of fighting to overcome challenges since her injury, Jenna is very proud of herself, she says: “I am damn proud of what I have achieved and overcome since my injury despite every single barrier that was thrown at me, and the constant battle to progress to a level of independence I could live with.

“I kept fighting the good fight the right way and it has paid off. I am glad to be here and excited for what my future holds”. 

You can follow Jenna’s journey on her on Instagram – @jenfitzi

To find out more about driving, contact Sirus Automotive on 0121 505 7777 or visit www.sirusautomotive.co.uk to book a free home demonstration.  

Sirus also specialise in Internal Transfer vehicles for wheelchair users who prefer to drive from a standard driver’s seat, and Wheelchair Passenger Upfront conversions designed to enable wheelchair users to enjoy sitting in the front next to the driver.