Anomie is a professional musician who has a passion for singing, dancing, and performing on stage. She is 34 years old and has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), a connective tissue disorder that impacts her balance, core stability, mobility, and joint stability. EDS is a condition Anomie has had her entire life but started to significantly affect her mobility around the age of 20 from secondary conditions Chiari Malformation and Tethered Spinal Cord. She also has quadriparesis, a weakness of all four limbs. “Being a person with a physical disability can be challenging for me because I’m a singer and having a stage presence without the ability to move has been something I really struggle with,” Anomie said.
She uses several mobility devices, including a power wheelchair for independence, and a rollator walker. “When I’m singing at live shows, I can move around in my power chair. The elevation feature puts me at eye level too, so I can have more stage presence. However, since most stages are not wheelchair accessible, I’m eye level only with the standing crowd. Because many stages lack accessibility, I usually have to perform with my rollator walker. I’ll have someone carry me on stage, but since I can’t safely move around on stage using the rollator, I feel very constricted when I’m performing. With the rollator, I feel frozen even though I’m using my legs. The moment I move the wrong way, I fall to the ground.”
Late last year, things started to change for the better when Anomie purchased the Zeen, a new mobility device invented by Garrett Brown. This device gives people the mobility benefits of a rollator walker, but with the safety and support like a wheelchair. Garrett also invented the Steadicam in the early 1970s. (The Steadicam is a device that stabilizes a video camera so that a camera operator doesn’t capture shaky video when on the move.) Years later, he’s back with a one-of-a-kind mobility device for people with disabilities and older adults.
“The disability community is eager for change. People with Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, people recovering from stroke, and others with various physical disabilities, can benefit from using the Zeen,” Garrett shared.
Garrett, a Philadelphia native, came up with the idea for the Zeen mobility device in 2013 and spent the last 10 years with a small team of engineers creating and making improvements to the device. “It’s something that I thought could fill the gap between walkers and wheelchairs,” Garrett said.
Anomie couldn’t be more thrilled with her Zeen. “It gives me more mobility than I’ve ever had in my life,” Anomie commented. She recalls how she learned about the Zeen and what led her to Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF). “My friends at TechOwl tagged me in a TikTok video with the Zeen. So, I reached out to Zeen, and they recommended PATF.” Anomie got in touch with PATF to learn about the financing opportunities and services we provide. “It all happened very quickly!” Anomie said.
With a PATF loan, Anomie was able to purchase her mobility device in November 2022 and received it a month later.
The Zeen has given Anomie newfound independence. “This is a very unique design that actually allows me to sit-to-stand easily and use my body the way that I want to use it, with complete safety.”
“It allows me to use some of my own body strength and that’s going to help me build up my core and my muscles in a way that I’ve never been able to,” Anomie continued. And it will help her a lot the next time the musician takes to the stage for a live show. “As more shows start to come back, I’d like to perform in my Zeen, that would be very cool!”
In addition to her mobility devices, Anomie uses smart home technology for greater independence and safety. Anomie uses a smart device on her phone to control the lock on the front door of her home. (She once had a Autoslide automatic device that opened a sliding glass door on her home.) She also uses a Wemo smart plug to manage the lights remotely. Our Smart Homes Made Simple guide and corresponding website, SmartHomesMadeSimple.org, helps people with disabilities and older adults who are interested in successfully integrating smart home devices into their homes and lives.
If you are applying for a PATF loan to purchase a Zeen for yourself or a loved one, go to gozeen.com/discount/ZeenPATF for a quote.
Please mention the code “ZeenPATF” when requesting a quote for a Zeen. The code will provide a free accessory with your Zeen order.
The Zeen has been featured on “CBS Saturday Morning.” Click the link to check out the story https://www.cbsnews.com/news/steadicam-wheelchair-cbs-saturday-morning/.
PATF provides low-interest and 0% interest financial loans for the purchase of assistive technology devices. Learn more at: https://patf.us/what-we-do.
Not a PA resident? For a list of organizations similar to PATF outside of PA visit: https://patf.us/afplist/