Colours is dedicated to improving the lives of people who use wheelchairs by providing innovative equipment and outstanding service. Their focused commitment has changed the lives of many individuals who are now paying it forward. Wheel:Life is sharing their stories in hopes that they too can help change someone’s life for the better.
Alexis Marie Temple Colours the Stage
Alexis Marie Temple of Huntington Beach, California, grew up on a 20-acre ranch. She had a very active lifestyle that consisted of horseback riding, feeding cattle and chickens, and playing basketball.
When Alexis was 19, she was riding a 4-wheeler through sand dunes when she wrecked. The accident caused her to fall 50 feet, and her 4-wheeler landed on top of her. After being rushed to the hospital, Alexis learned that she had 38 broken bones including 10 broken bones in her back, with a burst fracture that paralyzed her at T-9. She had broken her pelvis, both scapula, and eight ribs. On top of that, her spleen had been lacerated, and both of her lungs had been punctured.
“I went from a college student with 2 jobs to not being sure if I would ever be able to live independently on my own ever again,” Alexis explains.
“I was in the Saint Charles ICU for 3 weeks and then spent another month in the hospital recovering before I was transferred to in patient rehab for another month learning to adapt to my new situation.”
After being sent home, Alexis battled many health problems due to her severe injuries, but one of the biggest challenges she faced was her struggle with depression. Because of this, Alexis sought out food for comfort, resulting in an unhealthy weight gain. Alexis wasn’t happy with herself or her appearance. Five years after her injury, she decided to do something about it.
Alexis Begins Competitive Body Building
“Funny enough, I never wanted to be a body builder. In the beginning, it was not appealing to me,” Alexis said. “I just wanted to lose weight and feel comfortable in my own skin again.”
Alexis continues, “Victor Brawner was the manager at the gym where I was working out. He tried to talk me into signing up for personal training with him but I was very hesitant. He sensed that, and over the weekend he decided to look up my injury level and adapted exercises I could do. He then offered me a free month of personal training just to see what it was like. After that month, I signed up with him for the next six months, and to this day he is still a very close friend. Victor is the person I credit with giving me the confidence and knowledge I needed to feel comfortable going to the gym on a regular basis in my wheelchair.”
As Alexis began to notice the progress she was making, she started posting pictures of her results on social media. Sal Rivas, another gym owner and wheelchair user, discovered her online and asked her to consider competing in bodybuilding. Alexis turned the offer down, thinking it wasn’t for her.
Little did she know that bodybuilding would become her new normal.
Several months went by without hearing from Sal, and then the unexpected happened. Alexis remembers, “He called me and said, “Don’t hate me but I got you a sponsor, a bikini, a spray tan, and a hotel room. You’re competing in the Central California Championships this coming September 2015.’” Alexis was shocked, but begrudgingly told him, “Alright, I guess I can do it.”
Alexis went on to compete in women’s physique and won first place, and that was just the start. That win qualified her for nationals in South Beach, Florida, where she competed in figure and crossed over to bodybuilding. “I took first place in both categories and went home with the overall title,” Alexis says. “I am now a Team Ripped By Rivas Athlete. Although I don’t have any specific dates set for upcoming competitions I wholeheartedly plan to continue competing and bettering myself both mentally and physically.”
How Colours Wheelchairs Changed Alexis’ Life
“I first saw Colours chairs on the Sundance Channel reality show Push Girls, and I fell in love,” Alexis remembers. “The sleek aesthetic look of their chairs was so appealing. After all, if you have to be in a wheelchair, why wouldn’t you want it to be a pretty one? I saved up for months to purchase a pair of Colours Wheels to put on my old beat up chair to try and class it up a bit. It worked a little but I wanted the whole set up.”
Alexis explains, “A few weeks after the California Championships, Ernie Espinoza – the sales manager at Colours Wheelchairs – contacted me through Facebook, He asked if I really made my body transformation naturally. He wanted to know if I had weight loss surgery? I laughed and let him know that the 60-plus pounds of fat I had lost over the past year and a half was 100% natural, and done the safe but hard way through clean diet and exercise. He was impressed and thought my story could help inspire people who are in the same boat I was in when I decided I wanted to make a change.
Being in a wheelchair and having limited mobility can make getting to the gym much harder, but the truth is, it’s not impossible.
“Some things need to be adapted but we are all capable of elevating our heart rate and getting a good sweat session in. That coupled with a clean diet is the key. I was asked to join Team Colours as an athlete and it has been one of the best experiences of my life. Everyone at Colours is warm and welcoming. We’re all like a big family, and everyone has each other’s back.
“My Colours wheelchair is amazing. Not only is it very sleek and eye catching, it is durable beyond compare and extremely comfortable to be in all day long. It completes the package when I am up on stage competing in body building events. It’s light and thin, making my day-to-day pushing that much easier. It’s also incredibly durable, meaning I never have to worry about it breaking down. I have used many different brands of wheelchairs and have to say that Colours takes the cake.”
Jason Reyes Aims for Extremes in His Wheelchair
Jason Reyes (Rico) from California, prefers to be extreme when it comes to wheelchair sports. Jason is a U.S. Navy Veteran who proudly served his country on the USS Princeton in San Diego, California. After becoming a T-9 paraplegic, he began getting heavily involved in wheelchair sports. Two years after his injury, he competed in WCMX (wheelchair motocross) and was really good. Before long, Colours Wheelchairs began sponsoring him. “I’ve received nothing but the best support,” Jason says.
Jason was a natural at WCMX, landing his first wheelchair backflip, and coming in 4th place at the 2015 WCMX World Championships. WCMX isn’t the only sport Jason participates in. He also plays wheelchair basketball with the San Diego WolfPack Wheelchair Basketball team that is currently ranked 8th in the nation.
How Colours Wheelchairs Helped Jason Excel
Jason explains, “I couldn’t progress in any sport without the proper equipment. And, Colours takes care of me in that regard.” Jason has also recently been selected to be on the NAVY team for the Wounded Warrior Games, and continues to participate in wheelchair basketball, track, and hand cycling.
Jason has been selected to play wheelchair basketball for the USA Team at the Invictus Games this year at the ESPN Sports Center in Orlando, Florida. This competitive event will be televised on ESPN from May 8-12, 2016. He adds, “Colours, I just wanted to say thank you so much for supporting my athletic pursuits. Without you, none of this would be possible.”
Would you like to share your Colourful personality too? Let us know!
About Colours Wheelchairs
Colours Wheelchairs has been a turning point in the disability market since 1992 when Colours introduced our first active rigid wheelchair weighing a mere 16 lbs. Since then, we have been responsible for many great products including a four wheel independent suspension wheelchair (Shockblade®) and another record lightweight wheelchair (ZEPHYR®) weighing 14.5 lbs. Yes, we believe we produce some of the best wheelchairs in the world. But, that is not what we are bragging about. What we are really proud of are the people who are using our chairs. They are, in our eyes, individuals who have a spirit unmatched by our competition. So, our thanks go to you, the customer, for joining the Colours Family and doing what you do best!
For more information visit www.colourswheelchair.com.