Thursday, October 31, 2013

Lilian Strandlund's IKAN Bowler® Testimonial

My friend Lilian Strandlund is a delightful woman with cerebral palsy who is 64 years young. About five years ago, she met my Dad, Jim Miller, at a Toastmasters speaking group. Lilian uses a power wheelchair due to her CP, which also affects her speech – yet that didn't stop her from joining Toastmasters and giving speeches! That's an example of the type of spirit that Lillian has, and one reason why the word "delightful" is a most appropriate description.

Lillian is one of our central Florida Quad Squad Bowlers, and she wanted to share what the IKAN Bowler® has enabled her to achieve and what it means to her. Without further ado, here is Lilian's testimonial…

I am so thankful to Jim Miller for inviting me to come out and watch the central Florida Quad Squad Bowling Group.  I liked the group name right away.  I was surprised to find out that somebody had invented a device where an electric wheelchair user could really bowl.  I was very excited to go and watch. 

The big day came.  As Ed and I entered the bowling alley, I looked around for a familiar face.  I saw Jim and a few wheelchair users.  I headed for the group.  Jim introduced me to his son, Bill, and the rest of the group members.  Then I saw how a fancy bowling ramp called the IKAN Bowler® attaches to a wheelchair.  It gives the wheelchair user complete control of the bowling ball.  I watched as wheelchair users were driving with an IKAN Bowler® attached to their chairs, turning slowly to aim the ramp as they approached the foul line. Then I saw how the ball released when they stopped and it went where they aimed.  Amazing!

After I watched for a while, Claude, the co-inventor, came over and asked if I wanted to try it.  I said, “Oh yes!”  He brought over an IKAN Bowler® and showed Ed how simple it is to attach it to my wheelchair.  Claude and Bill gave me some pointers and then they let me loose.  My first game I broke a hundred.  I was thrilled!  I had a real sport that I could participate in.  I joined the Quad Squad at every outing they had and I was doing well. 

One of Claude’s friends came and watched several times.  One day he asked if I would mind if he bought an IKAN Bowler® and gave it to me.  This person, Robert, whom I hardly knew, wanted to give me a bowler.  I was speechless.  I nodded my head.  I was so touched by his kindness.  Tears came to my eyes; I knew I would never be able to afford one.

I remembered Claude saying the IKAN Bowler® was sanctioned by the United States Bowling Congress and that meant I could bowl on an able-bodied league and in tournaments.  Since Ed enjoyed bowling as much as I do, we joined a mixed league.  The first day on the league I was so nervous.  I knew they had to accept the IKAN Bowler® but would they accept me as a person who could bowl.  Our group-mates were very gracious.  Once I started bowling, people in the league were amazed how well I was able to control the bowler. 

Let me explain something: in league bowling you must switch back and forth between two lanes.  I had never done that before, but luckily I had enough room to switch lanes by going behind the ball return and scorer's table.  I just had to be so careful not to bump anything, anybody, and not get in the way of any bowler bowling.  Even though it was very nerve-racking, my first day on the league went very well.

For three years I have also participated in tournaments.  I enjoy watching bowler’s faces turn from disapproval when they first see me to acceptance after they see me bowl.  I like blowing people’s minds.

It is so gratifying to be able to participate in a sport with my loved ones.  It feels so wonderful to be able to play side by side with an able-bodied person and be accepted.  It’s like being on equal ground. 

There is one more very important thing that the IKAN Bowler® has done for me.  My mother and brother hold flying records.  I never would have believed that I was capable of having a record also.  I so much wanted to be like my mother and brother but I couldn’t see how it would be possible.  With the IKAN Bowler®, my dream of holding a record has come true!!  My 215 high game is actually the world record in multiple categories of dynamic wheelchair bowling. You can see them on the website:

Thank you Claude, thank you Bill, and thank you Robert for making this possible!!!


Thank you for sharing your thoughts Lillian and being delightful!

Bill Miller :-)
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 255 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT

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