Disabled man gets to drive away

02:28, Nov 15 2012
Chris Moran
Mobile again: Chris Moran is back behind the wheel after five years, in a van custom-modified for his wheelchair.

Chris Moran finally has a brand new set of wheels after a five-year battle with ACC.

The Blenheim man and his wife Sharon have struggled with ACC since 2007 when Mr Moran had an operation to replace a heart valve, which resulted in a series of injuries.

It's been more than five years since Mr Moran, a Blenheim architect and tetraplegic, has been independent with a vehicle.

A shiny dark blue Kia Carnival modified specifically for Mr Moran was delivered on Tuesday.

His first trip was to his office on Main St.

"I'm so much more independent now," he said. "With a bit of luck, I'm planning on getting back to work."


He and Mrs Moran went to Carterton, in Wairarapa, in July to meet an occupational therapist who assessed whether the car was suitable for him. In August, he was told he would be getting the keys to a vehicle and to his old life.

"It feels a bit daunting, but now I can go anywhere," Mr Moran said.

After a bit of practice and getting used to the controls, the couple hope to go on a trip by themselves.

"I'm a bit anxious," he said. "I'll probably avoid driving in town for now and stick to the back roads."

Mr Moran had found it too difficult to get in and out of a normal car and was often forced to get home in his wheelchair regardless of the weather.

"I'd be shaking and blue, but now I'll be fine," he said.

He is thrilled he finally has the freedom to leave his home whenever he wants.

"It was a bit like a jail," he said. "You can't go anywhere and you're forced to stay inside."

His goal is to ease back into work and return to how he was before things went wrong in 2007.

"I'm going to get back to what my life was like before hospital five years ago," he said.

"There's nowhere I can't go."

The Marlborough Express