Cyprus Sunday Mail - Wheelies
If you struggle round the
home or are in need of some temporary assistance, there is a company in
Paphos that hires out scooters, wheelchairs and other devices for the
disabled. JILL CAMPBELL MACKAY reports
THE dictionary definition of the word ‘disabled’ is when someone or
something is deprived of power.
Most of us, at some time in our life, will have experienced a temporary
disability, having been deprived of the power to walk due to suffering a
broken leg, or sprained
Others, like Chris
Neophytou, are permanently disabled and are confined to a
wheelchair. It’s this state of long-term immobility that resulted in
Chris turning what was a physical catastrophe into a thriving business
GC Para-quip was set up by Chris to help others with disabilities,
supplying a wide range of specially-designed equipment to help achieve a
level of independence both in and outside the home.
But how did it all start?
“I was in my wheelchair waiting in the foyer of a local hotel, when this
German tourist asked if I knew anyplace where he could hire a wheelchair
for his wife as she had just fallen down on some rocks, twisting her
ankle. Sadly, I couldn’t help him, as before this venture began, there
was no place you could hire equipment on a temporary basis. That’s when
I started to see that I could turn my disability into something that
could help others, and, at the same time give me a living.” Chris’
company now offers everything from the hire of mobility scooters, manual
and electric wheelchairs, shower commode, electric hoists, walkers, and
lots of other pieces of equipment that go to making make life that bit
easier for the disabled.
“We have also converted our family holiday apartments to become totally
accessible for wheelchair users and now welcome tourists from all over
Europe who come here, knowing they will not only be well cared for but
more importantly, they will be safe and also have a great holiday.”
Chris organises tours with the help of a specially converted minibus
come taxi which is adapted with an electric tail lift, meaning visitors
can be collected with ease from the airport and then taken to their
holiday apartment. Repairs can also be made on the spot if anyone gets a
‘spoke in their wheels’ and Chris will deliver his equipment all over
the island just like any regular hire company.
One thing people don’t realise is that despite many peoples’ disability
there are still plenty of opportunities for them to take part in
activities supposedly designed solely for the able bodied.
Chris organises swimming in the sea off the side of a specially adapted
boat, and even offers paragliding, which he is particularly addicted to,
having previously admitted to being a bit of an adrenalin junkie at