Ryan Revs Up
Tuesday, 13 May 2014
NEWRY teenager Ryan Cinnamond has once again defied the odds to become the first double leg amputee in Ireland to pass his driving test using a manual car, writes Brian Hyland.
And the inspirational 18-year-old hopes the achievement will encourage other amputees and people with disabilities to regain their independence by getting behind the wheel.
Delighted mum Peggy Cinnamond said: "It's another obstacle overcome and it has opened the door for others that are in similar circumstances as Ryan to achieve the same thing.
“Before now, Ryan, and people like him, were told that he could only drive with hand controls - and he proved them all wrong and as far as I know he is the first person in Ireland to pass a driving test using the normal manual controls."
One of the major difficulties that Ryan faced in learning to drive was that his double amputations were through his knees, meaning he has no natural hinge joint in either knee.
However, Ryan uses computerised prosthetic legs, known as C-Legs, that support active life through amazing microprocessor technology.
The C-Legs include a 'driving mode' that keep the knees stable while driving and enabled Ryan to learn how to drive a manual car instead of using hand controls.
He started lessons last year but had to quit after he suffered an arm fracture from a fall.
But the 18-year-old bounced back from yet another set-back and on Friday he once again defied the odds to pass his driving license.
Now waiting on the delivery of his own Hyundai i30 next month, Ryan told the Democrat: "Having my own car means a lot because I'm able to jump in the car and drive over and hang out with my mates and I can get to places myself instead of waiting on my mum all the time.
“Before the amputations I walked everywhere and wasn't dependent on being taken to and from places.
“When you lose your legs it really hits you hard because you can't do much and you're always depending on a lift. Now I can go about doing my own thing and not put pressure on people to take me everywhere; I can do it myself now, which is great."
Passing his driving test is just the latest obstacle the Chelsea-daft teen has overcome since the start of his horrific ordeal in November 2010 when the popular St Paul's student was rushed to Belfast City Hospital after suffering a ruptured aortic aneurysm.
While doctors saved his life following 10 hours in theatre, Ryan had to have both legs removed at the knee.
In 2011 Ryan, while learning to walk again using prosthetic limbs, insisted that he wanted to complete his GCSEs - and passed them with flying colours.
He also took part in smashing the Guinness Book of Records relay attempt in Newry in 2012, and in recent months Ryan has been delivering motivational speeches at events and was the guest speaker Pope John Paul II Awards in Cavan earlier this year.
He said he hopes that passing his driving test will inspire other amputees to regain their own independence by getting behind the wheel.
He added: "People limit you to what you can do before you even try to do it; I was told I could only drive using hand controls. But I can drive a car with no adaptations and other people can do it too."
Ryan said his focus now is learning to run again using blades, and the well-mannered young man from Castlekeele says he also hopes to continue motivational speeches to help others overcome their own personal challenges and difficulties.
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