To say that Claire Szabo-Cassella knows something about theater is an understatement. After all, she is an alum of the University of Texas at Austin and the Shakespeare at Winedale theater program. She loves to attend the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon, and drives her red scooter right into the theater. Even with limited mobility, Claire pursues her interests and strives to affect change in the world.
Claire resides in Portland, Oregon. Progressing FHS muscular dystrophy began to impact Claire’s life in her late 40s. To help maintain her independence, Claire uses her Pride Pursuit scooter.
“I cannot tell you the number of times people on the street have inquired about my scooter,” Claire said. “It’s real head turner!”
Claire loves the speed and durability of her Pursuit. Thanks to her scooter, Claire can easily navigate bike trails with her husband as he rides his bike. She is grateful for these shared experiences. Claire and her husband Lou, who is now her main caregiver, dedicate themselves to enjoying life as much as possible. They make the necessary adaptations for her condition as they go along.
In addition to her love for the theater, Claire is passionate about travel and the outdoors. Before the progressing muscular dystrophy, Claire climbed mountains, taught yoga and snorkeled in the seas. Despite limited mobility, she still thrives in the outdoors.
“Although I can’t scuba dive with my scooter," Claire joked. “I still get outdoors for long periods of time, feeling secure in my independence on my scooter. Being able to scoot around my neighborhood and national parks has been a well-being lifesaver!”
In between her adventures, Claire is a public speaker and avid gardener. She is the author of the book Shakespeare’s Yoga, as well as a former yoga teacher and studio owner. And don’t challenge Claire to a game of Rummy 500; she will probably win!
As an accessibility advocate, Claire uses her website, Red Scooter Diaries, as a voice to make recommendations and reflect about her travel experiences. Her blog encourages people with disabilities to get out there and see the world. Claire also writes personal essays on her living with a disability. In contrast, her husband posts “Confessions of a Caregiver” on the site, which provides a balance in views as they continue their journey together. In addition, Claire writes correspondence to business and government officials, calling for greater accessibility for everyone. Red Scooter Diaries has already influenced a national fitness corporation to install ADA automatic front door openers, where there previously were none.
Check out Claire’s website at redscooterdiaries.com