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Heroes of the Everyday 2014 No. 12 - She fights for wheelchair users

Her husband Hubert (57) very much supports Annemie Nickels
Photo: Habib Hakimi

How Annemie Nickels (54) works for disabled people - and who benefits from it all

Annemie Nickels is in a wheelchair - and since she did that, she first realized how many obstacles there are for wheelchair users in everyday life. That's why she works for disabled people!

It started with her right foot. More and more frequently he "just got stuck", says Annemie Nickels. "From then on, the distance I could walk was getting shorter and shorter." Multiple sclerosis, so the diagnosis.

For years she fought against the disease, ran first on a stick, later on with walker. Until 1995, her legs completely refused the service. Since then she sits in a wheelchair.

"He helps me to walk, how other people helps to see glasses, " said the 54-year-old from Prüm in the Eifel. "It took me ages to get to the walker or arm until I was where I wanted to go. It was much easier in the wheelchair. But I am still the same person! "

There were obstacles everywhere

What has changed the wheelchair, however, is her everyday life. All of a sudden there were obstacles around the Rhineland-Palatinate that she would never have noticed before. "I was able to open the fridge, but I could not reach the upper shelves in my wheelchair." The washing machine in the basement? Out of reach via the stairs. Trips to the outdoors? Alone because of the steep slope of her home alone. "I had to change my life completely. Fortunately, my husband Hubert (57, red.) Helped me with everything. We built a barrier-free house. And on the way, he just pushed or carried me over every barrier. "

But not all wheelchair users get so much support. "Many do not even dare, " says Annemie Nickels. Whether the restaurant table, under which no wheelchair fits, the Kaufhaustoilette, which is not handicapped accessible or the ice cream parlor around the corner, which can be reached only over a step: Also in their hometown lurk everywhere obstacles for the handicapped.

On the other hand, it is fighting with its project group "Barrier-free in Prüm". "My goal is to remove barriers or mark the way. So that no one in a wheelchair has to retire anymore, but how others can participate in public life! "

Just one of the group's achievements: mobile ramps that can be borrowed in the village to negotiate steps. Mayor Mathilde Weinandy even wants to redesign a whole place in Prüm barrier-free - thanks to Annie Nickels tireless commitment! Incidentally, this also has a pleasing side effect for non-wheelchair users: People with rollators or mothers with pushchairs can also benefit from more accessible ways!

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