Tori Elliott, who has lived with SMA since 18 months of age, is raising money for SMA Support UK (previously The Jennifer Trust) by driving 4000 miles around Europe in a GM Coachwork VW Caravelle Nevada drive-from-wheelchair vehicle.
Following the delivery of a brand new wheelchair and a new VW Caravelle Nevada, Tori believed the time was right to embark on a trip of a lifetime before it became too difficult for her to do so and while her partner, David, and her two PAs were available to help her fulfil her ambition.
The adventure, sponsored by GM Coachwork, sets off from Newton Abbot on 3 May, with Plymouth the first port of call to catch the ferry to Santander. From here the trek takes in Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, back through France and home.
The purpose of the journey is two fold – firstly to demonstrate to other disabled people that anything is possible. According to Tori: “Having a physical disability and using a number of mobility aids such as electric wheelchairs and mobile hoists can often put a strain on holidays abroad, but the aim of this trip is to demonstrate how easy it can be with forward planning and the ambition to achieve. This combination is all you need to live an independent lifestyle, whether you’re able bodied or have any form of ailment.”
Secondly, as someone who lives with SMA, she will be raising money for SMA Support UK. She has set up a Just Giving page http://www.justgiving.com/ourSMAlladventure to raise funds and hope the support of the trip can raise money for this valuable cause.
Tori, and her partner David, will be regularly uploading photos and videos to their Facebook page for people to follow their trip and they will be regularly reporting on how other countries facilitate the accessible traveller, providing an insight for others looking to travel abroad.