Lilian Strandlund’s IKAN Bowler® Testimonial

My friend Lilian Strandlund is a delightful woman with cerebral palsy who is 64 years young. About five years ago, she met my Dad, Jim Miller, at a Toastmasters speaking group. Lilian uses a power wheelchair due to her CP, which also affects her speech – yet that didn’t stop her from joining Toastmasters and giving speeches! That’s an example of the type of spirit that Lillian has, and one reason why the word “delightful” is a most appropriate description.

Lillian is one of our central Florida Quad Squad Bowlers, and she wanted to share what the IKAN Bowler® has enabled her to achieve and what it means to her. Without further ado, here is Lilian’s testimonial…

I am so thankful to Jim Miller for inviting me to come out and watch the central Florida Quad Squad Bowling Group.  I liked the group name right away.  I was surprised to find out that somebody had invented a device where an electric wheelchair user could really bowl.  I was very excited to go and watch.

The big day came.  As Ed and I entered the bowling alley, I looked around for a familiar face.  I saw Jim and a few wheelchair users.  I headed for the group.  Jim introduced me to his son, Bill, and the rest of the group members.  Then I saw how a fancy bowling ramp called the IKAN Bowler® attaches to a wheelchair.  It gives the wheelchair user complete control of the bowling ball.  I watched as wheelchair users were driving with an IKAN Bowler® attached to their chairs, turning slowly to aim the ramp as they approached the foul line. Then I saw how the ball released when they stopped and it went where they aimed.  Amazing!

After I watched for a while, Claude, the co-inventor, came over and asked if I wanted to try it.  I said, “Oh yes!”  He brought over an IKAN Bowler® and showed Ed how simple it is to attach it to my wheelchair.  Claude and Bill gave me some pointers and then they let me loose.  My first game I broke a hundred.  I was thrilled!  I had a real sport that I could participate in.  I joined the Quad Squad at every outing they had and I was doing well.

One of Claude’s friends came and watched several times.  One day he asked if I would mind if he bought an IKAN Bowler® and gave it to me.  This person, Robert, whom I hardly knew, wanted to give me a bowler.  I was speechless.  I nodded my head.  I was so touched by his kindness.  Tears came to my eyes; I knew I would never be able to afford one.

I remembered Claude saying the IKAN Bowler® was sanctioned by the United States Bowling Congress and that meant I could bowl on an able-bodied league and in tournaments.  Since Ed enjoyed bowling as much as I do, we joined a mixed league.  The first day on the league I was so nervous.  I knew they had to accept the IKAN Bowler® but would they accept me as a person who could bowl.  Our group-mates were very gracious.  Once I started bowling, people in the league were amazed how well I was able to control the bowler.

Let me explain something: in league bowling you must switch back and forth between two lanes.  I had never done that before, but luckily I had enough room to switch lanes by going behind the ball return and scorer’s table.  I just had to be so careful not to bump anything, anybody, and not get in the way of any bowler bowling.  Even though it was very nerve-racking, my first day on the league went very well.

For three years I have also participated in tournaments.  I enjoy watching bowler’s faces turn from disapproval when they first see me to acceptance after they see me bowl.  I like blowing people’s minds.

It is so gratifying to be able to participate in a sport with my loved ones.  It feels so wonderful to be able to play side by side with an able-bodied person and be accepted.  It’s like being on equal ground.

There is one more very important thing that the IKAN Bowler® has done for me.  My mother and brother hold flying records.  I never would have believed that I was capable of having a record also.  I so much wanted to be like my mother and brother but I couldn’t see how it would be possible.  With the IKAN Bowler®, my dream of holding a record has come true!!  My 215 high game is actually the world record in multiple categories of dynamic wheelchair bowling. You can see them on the website: WheelchairBowlingRecords.com.

Thank you Claude, thank you Bill, and thank you Robert for making this possible!!!

Lilian

Thank you for sharing your thoughts Lillian and being delightful!

Bill Miller :-)
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 255 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
My blog: https://powerwheelchairusers.wordpress.com
Business website: http://www.ikanbowler.com
Personal website: http://www.lookmomnohands.net

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About billgator97

I started this blog to highlight how wheelchair users, especially power wheelchair users, are being empowered through sport, in particular: dynamic wheelchair bowling. It's actually bowling that emulates the able-bodied bowling process, i.e. setup, then physically approach and release the ball upon stopping short of the foul line. I happen to be paralyzed from my neck down, and ventilator-dependent, yet I've actually bowled 24 legitimate games of 200 or better. I say that NOT to brag, but to show what is possible and make the point that ANY wheelchair user who can safely operate their chair, they can bowl (I helped invent a device that makes it possible). Please look around and feel free to ask any questions! Thanks and God bless!
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