The Royal Marines Charity are extremely proud to have funded the first phase of development of the Victor Mobility device.
Victor Mobility was founded by a Paralympian Royal Marine to develop ‘the next generation, innovative mobility device that addresses the needs of wheelchair users and those with limited mobility’.
Former Royal Marine Corporal Phil Eaglesham became wheelchair bound after contracting Q Fever during deployment in Afghanistan in 2011. Q Fever is a relatively rare degenerative disease for which, although now treated, the after effects are extremely disabling and will cause continued deterioration. As a husband and father, family life is incredibly important to Phil. Together with wife Julie and their three sons; Travis, Tyler and Mason; independence, mobility and social interaction are fundamental aspects of everyday living. Aspects of life we all take for granted until they become difficult or impossible.
As a Royal Marine Corporal Eaglesham served 3 tours of Afghanistan and has used his military training to overcome significant struggles that his condition has presented. It has been an incredibly long and difficult journey with an uncertain future. However with the support of friends, family and various charities Phil has reapplied his commando mind-set to achieve some incredibly positive outcomes, not only for himself but for others too.
As well as representing Ireland in the Rio 2016 Paralympics Phil has become a motivational speaker and entrepreneur. His drive to be selected for Rio 2016 was to become a good example to his children and make his wife proud, showing them that ‘you should never give up … the incredible can still be achieved…’
Phil has worked in partnership with the AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre), at the University of Sheffield, to design a mobility device which is innovative and takes mobility into the modern age. Aiming to ‘take a disabled person back to social height thereby improving social interaction, improving mental health and increasing independence. The creation of VICTOR aims to level the playing field for those who use mobility devices.
Thanks to support from The Royal Marines Charity, the first prototype has now been built and is ready for testing.
In order to bring VICTOR and improved quality of life to the wider community Corporal Eaglesham has launched a Crowd funding campaign inviting investors to get involved. The launch, which took place at the Imperial War Museum on 28th November 2016, was a huge success. The new wheelchair can raise to eye level and enable sensible table height, turn virtually on the spot, is narrow enough to get through doors – inside and out, can mount kerbs and is priced at a point where it could be accessible to everyone.
In an interview with Jonathan Ball - CEO of The Royal Marines Charity, he said: ‘The ethos of our charity is to help those who have been scarred physically or mentally by war to reapply the commando mind-set. This is a perfect example of a Marine who’s understood his own challenges, adapted to overcome them. And what he’s trying to do is help other people through that. It just epitomises what the charity is all about.’
Corporal Eaglesham said at the launch: ‘…being in a wheelchair made me see first-hand the challenges faced and so I tried out loads of solutions on the market but none of them tackled everyday problems that I, and other mobility device users, have on a daily basis.’ He’s determined to create a revolutionary new wheelchair that could help users live their lives more fully and to feel ‘abled, not disabled’.
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