Pride Portraits -
Sports and competition are in Aimee Buswell's blood, with a family of athletes including her father and two older brothers. So it was no surprise 15 years ago when a friend suggested she try skiing that Aimee took to it almost instantly. "I didn't have that difficult first day that a lot of people experience," Aimee recalled. "It came pretty naturally for me and I had a lot of fun right away."
Using adapted ski equipment, due to cerebral palsy, Aimee started with a with a sit-ski, which has a seat for the user, before quickly progressing to a bi-ski, which more closely resembles a traditional ski arrangement, with an extra surface for added stability. Since that time, she has become an accomplished adaptive skier, serving as one of the first demonstrators of the bi-ski at the 2002 Maryland Special Olympics, to a competitor in the full medal event this year. "I missed a couple gates and got disqualified," Aimee said, with typical good humor. "But I had a great time competing. It was an incredible experience."
Aimee's also uses a power chair for mobility and she expects her power chair to meet the same high standards of performance that gets from her skiing equipment and herself. She said her Q600 meets her demands with room to spare. "I love this chair," Aimee said. "It's easily the most comfortable chair I've ever owned, and the performance is outstanding. My mom says it does better in bad conditions than her car." That level of comfort and performance makes an enormous difference in her life. "It allows me a great deal of independence and lets me live life on my own terms."
Living her life on her own terms means plenty of other pursuits, in addition to adaptive skiing, for Aimee. She holds a part-time job with a nearby national retailer, and enjoys a number of hobbies including photography and crafts. "I like taking photos of anything I see that looks interesting. Still life, action, outdoor scenes, whatever I see that I like," said Aimee. "And I'm pretty crafty. I enjoy making cards, gift boxes, gift wrap, and I've been getting into beaded jewelry."
One other important part of Aimee's life is her position as a member of the board of directors of Change Inc., a private, non-profit organization that offers assistance to families of people with developmental difficulties. "The organization helps people with issues like housing and jobs," Aimee explained. "It offers people with disabilities the chance to really be part of their community." Aimee, a former client of Change Inc. has been a member of the board for two years. "I'm the first former client ever to sit on the board," she said with obvious satisfaction. "It's a great opportunity to help other people the way I was helped, which is very rewarding."
Aimee's Provider is Advanced Medical Concepts, in Owings Mills, Md., and Amy's mother, Carol, said the experience with them and with Quantum Rehab has been superb. "The people from Advanced Medical have taken excellent care of Aimee; they have really gone above and beyond to make sure her chair is just right," said Carol, who also noted that she got to know some Pride and Quantum representatives wile accompanying Aimee to a recent skiing event in West Virginia. "I've never seen a big company like Pride that takes such a personal interest in their customers."