“…Don’t let life’s setbacks stop you from your adventures!…”
My name is Todd Kneale and I was born and raised in Ohio, but after College, I moved to Southern California and began my Career as an Engineer. While I had always loved nature, it did not take me long to discover all there was to see and do in California. I soon became an avid skier, backpacker, and a lover of the outdoors. I could easily escape to the mountains, deserts, or the ocean on any weekend. So much beauty in one place.
In 1994, I met my best friend and soul mate (Teresa) at Mardi Gras and we were married 3 years later. What attracted me most to her, besides her loving heart, was her passion for adventure. Shortly after we met, I introduced Teresa to Joshua Tree, where together we learned how to rock climb. We both were very excited about this new sport and for the next 10 years, we spent many weekends climbing, while continuing to ski, backpack and off-road all over California. Our weekends and our vacations were dominated by outdoor adventures, and we loved it as much as we loved each other. Indeed, we have always kept adventure at the forefront of our Marriage.
However, unexpected things can happen, which can change our lives forever. In 2003, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. As those who have MS and their caregivers know, it can effect each person differently. In my case, this progressive disease that effects the central nervous system has primarily caused the loss of mobility in my legs. As I lost more and more mobility, I slowly lost my ability to rock climb, ski, backpack, and even hike. Though life was more challenging, we still always found a way to enjoy the outdoors, but most of our adventures were focused around offroading which still allowed us to get off the beaten path, but I was limited to staying around the vehicle, as no traditional wheelchair was able to navigate rough trails.
This started a quest, and for years, Teresa and I had been looking for a true offroad wheelchair that could reopen my ability to “move” in nature without a vehicle. Then, thanks to Todd Lemay and TerrainHopper USA, our dreams have come true. To say we were excited, would be a huge understatement, and as it turns out, we were the first to put in a down payment on a TerrainHopper that would be manufactured in the US. We picked up our new TerrainHopper in April of 2018, and it instantly changed our lives. This machine, my 4WD wheelchair, now allows me to “hike” with my wife again. When we venture out into nature, I can leave the truck behind and explore trails, experience vistas, and regain that feeling of really being in nature that had eluded me from a truck. We have had the TerrianHopper on steep and rocky mountain trails, rough desert washes and paths, and ocean sand and surf. I am now able to enjoy and explore the outdoors in a much more intimate way – much more like I used to do. The TerrainHopper has made my world so much larger, and given me the freedom to experience the places Teresa and I love, in a way that I did not think would be possible for me anymore. Thank you Todd Lemay for this gift of freedom.
So if there is a single thing that one might take away from my story, I would hope it is this: Don’t let life’s setbacks stop you from your adventures!
— Todd, California