Meet Ella, the latest RGK Advisor


Meet Ella, the latest RGK Advisor.

I’m Ella Bouvard, an (almost) 23yo from Kent, I had horses from a young age and I had always known that I wanted to work with them, it wasn’t even something I had to think about. That was until 2019 when my life changed and I became a full time wheelchair user, I did try to stay around horses but it just wasn’t the same so I knew I needed to look elsewhere to find my happiness. Luckily for me it didn’t take too long! I had found a para sport I absolutely loved (which soon turned into three or four!) and I had started playing guitar during lockdown and once we were out the other side I started gigging. I was only playing in local pubs at first but eventually I was booked for some festivals and as much as I loved it, I knew I didn’t want to make a career out of music.

I was quite heavily involved in the disability community quite early on, I think that happens quite naturally when you’re involved in sport. I started out at London Wheelchair Triathlon club with both handcycling and swimming, then I was introduced to Velocity Racers – a race chair club in south London, I loved – and still do – almost every aspect of triathlon. I was never much of a runner before but when you get it right, being in a racing wheelchair really does feel like flying. It took a while to get my swim right, but with the right floats and support for my legs it’s just another thing that gives me freedom, there’s nothing better than getting in the pool or a lake and just thinking about your stroke and breathing. It really is the best way to clear your head. We won’t talk about the bike… those who know me will know that it’s definitely not my favourite thing! I did make it round Ride London 60 miles this year but I won’t be rushing to sign up again that’s for sure! I also started playing wheelchair rugby 5s with Crawley Jets about a year ago, I started there after meeting some guys from the team whilst on a track day with Limitless Motorsport, who I also stayed on board with so there’s an awful lot of sport going on but I wouldn’t change it for a thing!

The one thing I got very interested in early on was chair fit, I used to look at people and think how much their day to day lives could be improved if their chairs actually fit them properly and gave them the right support. I knew this was my absolute dream job, I have never been someone who likes sitting still, so the idea of being out on the road and meeting new people every day really appealed to me. I set out on a mission to find a company that would take me on. Spoiler alert, this was much harder than I’d first thought.

I’m not sure if anyone else has noticed this yet, but I knew that there weren’t any other women doing this role, and I wasn’t sure if there ever had been a female mobility advisor. For some, the idea of entering what is a very male dominated industry would be terrifying, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little apprehensive when putting my CV forwards. At the same time, I found it exciting. I thought of all the incredible women in history who have made strides and changed the course of not only their lives, but other women after them. And okay, maybe I’m not quite changing the world, but in my role, I do have the opportunity to better change peoples lives, and it is such a privilege to be in that position. And who knows, maybe I will inspire other women to work in this industry in the future, and what a positive stride forward that would be.

I am so, so lucky to be in a position where I genuinely love what I do. Life doesn’t always go the way you expect, but it’s what you make of it that counts. It’s almost impossible to compare my life back when I wasn’t disabled to now, as I was only 18 so of course I was going to change and grow anyway – but I do think that my life now is far more fulfilling than it ever was. Of course there are things that are much, much harder. And I won’t start on modern day ‘accessibility’ or I’d be here for another 10 pages! But I certainly get more out of life now, and I appreciate everything just a little bit more.

I’ve only been at RGK since July but in that time I have learned so much, I’m enjoying doing day chair measures but I am most excited about the Sprint. As a wheelchair racer myself, going out and seeing people in my sport is so much fun. And there’s something so special about getting your first custom chair, whether it be daily or sport, and to be a part of that process is so exciting.

I’m going to finish by giving a bit of a shoutout to the rest of the RGK team, everyone throughout all departments have been so helpful and welcoming and I can’t wait to see what the future looks like!

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