I came across this in the feed from an MS Facebook group. A British production company took three celebrities, put them in wheelchairs, strapped their legs together so they could not use them, and sent them off with the challenge to get from Edinburgh to London, on their own. Like other survivor type “reality” shows, they of course had a camera crew and a support person, but they were mostly on their own to experience the thrill of inner-and inter-city travel in a wheelchair. It was unscripted, a true reality show. Planes, trains and automobiles, staircases, inaccessible subways, taxi cabs refusing to pick them up. One woman brought to tears seeing herself in a clothing store mirror. Determined to do it on their own, but discovering that they needed to ask for help. Feeling humiliated as they allowed themselves to be carried. Watching one of them fixing a flat tire on her own.
It brought me up short to see their struggles from another perspective. They were allowed to be up and walk around in their hotel room, one woman chanting to herself, “I am SO lucky…” The three participants finished the challenge with a genuine appreciation for the difficulties, physical and emotional, of moving through the world “waist-high.” Obviously, at the end, they all got to walk away. To truly understand the experience, you’d have to be strapped in for a lot longer, and not be allowed any reprive. But I thought it was brilliant. I would SO love to see this in the US. Find a few smart ass celebrities – blathering pundits from both sides, politicians, regular folks – sit them down, and send them out on an “adventure.” Or have them go through a normal week in a chair. No million-dollar prize, simple survival as the only reward.
I thought it was a brilliant educational concept. Does anyone have any connection to a TV producer to pitch this story to?