What has been your biggest challenge so far that you have mastered – and what has helped you?
Isabelle Sievers: I had anorexia for a long time, which led me to a suicide attempt where I climbed a smaller power pole and touched the power line. As a result, my disabilities came about. My biggest challenge has been the path I have taken since then: From suddenly severely disabled, deeply trapped in the eating disorder, physically unable to wear a prosthesis, to another hospital stay, intensive confrontation with my psychological problems, coming to terms with what I had experienced, physical stabilization, to I have left the eating disorder behind, live independently in my own apartment, am truly happy, and have a prosthesis that I can easily use and wear throughout the day and that gives me a whole lot of quality of life. And this development in only three years. I was helped first of all by the doctors, who did everything humanly possible and successfully saved my life. But of course also my family, who never left my side, and a few true friends. In addition, my stamina and strong will helped me – I never gave up on myself but kept fighting forward until I achieved the almost impossible.
What can the assistive technology industry learn from the Corona pandemic to make life easier and/or better for people with disabilities in the future?
Isabelle Sievers: I think digitization is the key word here. First of all, I think it would be advantageous if all the assistive technology sectors were represented on social media, so that the relevant offers are accessible to a broader audience and thus reach the patient sooner. For example, I became aware of the REHACARE trade fair via Instagram. But I would also find online offers important, at least that the option for this exists. For some people with disabilities, traveling to the fair involves a lot of effort, but it is still important to pick up patients and provide them with the support they need. I was thinking of online counseling sessions, for example. But also an online platform for people with disabilities so that like-minded people can talk to each other more easily. The exchange among each other is so important.
If nothing was impossible: Who would you like to meet one day and why?
Isabelle Sievers: I would love to meet my favorite band Versengold away from concerts. Just to talk to them, as they have composed some very moving songs that have helped me through many difficult times.
What was your best REHACARE experience?
Isabelle Sievers: Unfortunately, I have never been to the REHACARE trade fair. Since I've only been an amputee since 2019 and then the pandemic intervened, I haven't had the opportunity to visit yet. But maybe I'll stop by this year.
What I wanted to say ...
Isabelle Sievers: Every person is unique, valuable and beautiful, just as they are. No matter whether one wears a prosthesis, orthosis or other aid, no matter whether one is marked by scars or sits in a wheelchair. True beauty comes from within and cannot be reduced to outward appearances. Only you know your inner strength and I am firmly convinced that you can do anything if you only believe in yourself and do not let yourself be influenced by society's expectations.