Turbo Owners Club
In the 1980s a small revolution took place. A new type of mobility became available for disabled children, as a result of the work of Dan and Lou Everard. Their children, Ruth and Sam, could not walk due to a genetic condition causing severe muscle weakness. The Everards were sure that mobility should be available to their children from the same developmental stage as able-bodied children, but no appropriate wheelchair existed.
Dan was, and still is, a consulting electronics design engineer. He designed a powered wheelchair which provided Ruth, the elder of the two children, with as much mobility as she needed to be a normal toddler. She was mobile in a one-off machine, known as the "Yellow Peril" before the age of two. Sam was slightly weaker than Ruth and he died suddenly, aged eighteen months, before his machine was ready for him, although he had used Ruth's Yellow Peril before his death.
From that first machine the "Turbo" was developed and it revolutionised equipment for the generation of disabled children born in the 1970s and 1980s, giving them the opportunity to lead normal, active, integrated lives. The Turbo was a production wheelchair, manufactured throughout the eighties, which used the same principles as the original Yellow Peril of three-dimensional, instinctive movement usable by a toddler. Many of the current top-range wheelchairs available today and used by that generation are born out of Dan's ideas of high-power, elevating mobility. Early mobility for the disabled toddler is now accepted, although the Everards' firmly-held belief, when Ruth and Sam were small, that it was even possible was dismissed as ridiculous.
A few Turbos have been passed on, so there are a few "Turbo children" who are a little younger than the rest. This group of around 2,000 people have, worldwide, gone on to do great things, whether in their professional, academic or personal lives. Some of these successes are measurable - qualifications, jobs, books published, property, marriages, children. Some successes are smaller and more personal - for some simply living their life actively is all they ever wanted and they have had the choice and opportunity to do so.
If you are a "Turbo child" or you knew someone whose short life benefited from a Turbo and you would like to tell us about them, the Turbo Owners' Club would like to hear from you. We are seeking to find as many of those people as possible, to share news and stories and to celebrate something amazing that each of these normal people have in common.