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Athlete’s Incredible Wheelchair Accessible Van Life

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Lisa Franks thought her athletic ambitions were over when a spinal cord injury left her in a wheelchair at only 14 years old, but Paralympians visited her and showed her she could find new ways to do her favorite things. After getting seven medals, a shoulder injury severely altered her life. It took several surgeries to get her out of the house, and that’s when she tried car camping for the first time!

The camping eventually led to her ordering a van and creating an incredible wheelchair-accessible home on wheels. She can navigate the entire van alone, including taking out her mountain bike and surfboard. Watch the video to see how she made her van fit her lifestyle.

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Three-time Paralympian Chooses #Vanlife!

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Images via Tiny Home Tours

From the outside, you’d never know how special her van is!

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Images via Tiny Home Tours

Her induction cooktop slides out from under the counter.

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Images via Tiny Home Tours

She has a hydraulic lift to get her into bed at night.

Athelete’s Incredible Wheelchair Accessible Van

Images via Tiny Home Tours

VIDEO: Her High-Tech Camper Van | Paralympian’s Tiny Home on Wheels


  • First Lisa got a spinal cord injury at the age of 14, but she didn’t let that stop her and became a paralympian!
  • But she ended up with such a bad shoulder injury that it sidelined her athletic career for three years. After a few surgeries she was ready to get back out there and started car camping.
  • Eventually she bought a van to convert into a weekender rig, but when Lisa lost her job, she decided to roll in all the way and do it full-time.
  • The Ford Transit high-roof includes space to rotate her wheelchair and a slim-profile wheelchair lift to get her in and out of the van safely.
  • Her bench/toilet actually lifts up to get her into her bed that’s also on hydraulic lifts to store her adventure gear, such as her mountain bike.
  • She has pull-down cubbies inside her upper cabinets so she can access what she’s stored up there.

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.

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