Glasgow ex-teacher beats brain surgery with ‘surprisingly trendy’ wheelchair


A 40 year old from Bishopton near Glasgow, has discovered that powered wheelchairs can be ‘cool for younger people’ with the WHILL Model C.

Jenna McKernan lives with her firefighter husband, two young children and describes herself as ‘positive with a glass that’s always half full’.

Following a brain operation, Jenna became paralysed down her right-hand side and needed to be pushed in a wheelchair.

TGA - Scottish News
Photo by TGA. She was a primary school teacher for 17 years until a cancer diagnosis in 2016.

Today, she continues with secondary cancer treatment and has worked hard to regain some walking ability with a frame.

Nevertheless, Jenna needs a wheelchair most of the time and as she can’t self-propel, her situation was becoming ‘more and more frustrating for her and her family’.

She started looking for a mobility scooter – however discovering the WHILL Model C powerchair changed all of that.

Jenna says: “With shielding coming to an end, this was the time for a new lease of life I thought.

“It was when my husband was pushing me in the supermarket and I kept asking him to turn me around, it dawned on me it was time for change.

Wheelchair - Scottish News
Photo by marianne bos on Unsplash. Jenna didn’t want a powered wheelchair as she had only ever seen ‘old fashioned designs’.

Jenna continued: “He kept rolling his eyes, so I said ‘right’, I’m going to get my independence back.

“I typed in ‘trendy mobility scooter’ and came across TGA.

“They had published a story about one of their customers who was a similar age to me, who had chosen their Minimo as it looked good.

“He was seen as ‘trendy’ by his kids, so I phoned TGA to arrange a home demonstration.

“Chelsea phoned me back in less than half an hour and they arranged for Harry, an Assessor, to come and visit me with a Minimo.

wheelchair - Scottish News
Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash. A few years of being pushed in a wheelchair coupled with the restrictions of lockdown, Jenna decided it was time to regain her freedom.

Jenna continued: “TGA explained that they didn’t have salespeople, just guys who offered demonstrations, so there was no pressure to buy.

“Harry was so helpful and brought a WHILL with him just in case.

“I tried the Minimo safely in my back garden and really liked the look of it and how it drove.

“However, my husband and Harry felt I needed a bit more support, especially when turning.

“Even though I was sure a powerchair wasn’t for me, Harry suggested I tried the WHILL.

Wheelchair - Scottish News
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash. Jenna is keen to tell everyone about her WHILL and the difference it has made.

Jenna continued: “Well, it was brilliant, I loved the way it moved and glided around – I could spin it on the spot.

“When Harry told me about the steering smartphone app and the fact you could change the coloured panels, I knew it was for me.

“The independence this WHILL could give me, like going to the woods on my own with the kids, got me buzzing.

“My neighbours came to our garden gate to watch, they too said it looked fantastic.

“That night I discussed the pros and cons with my husband and the following day we called Harry back.

“I had to be sure the WHILL was right for me especially as I have difficulty feeling and placing my right foot.

“I checked it was ok on the WHILL footplate and I felt steady, especially when getting in and out.

“The Minimo was great however the WHILL was much easier for me to sit down or transfer out.

“I love the way the armrests fold back as they allow me to sit closer to tables, especially at cafes.”