On 1 March 2021, television broadcaster BNNVARA launched a programme called We Gaan Het Maken! (‘We’re going to make it!’) on the NPO 1 channel. In this programme, researchers/creators help people with disabilities to find a solution that will change their lives. Hellen van Rees was asked by the University of Twente to participate, since she’s a frequent collaborator in several UT projects.

Together with presenter Patrick Lodiers and armed with the latest techniques in their field, researchers Edwin Dertien, Wouter Eggink, Khiet Truong, Arjan van Hessen, Renee Molman, Astrid Poot and Hellen van Rees try to make the impossible possible. The programme provides a glimpse into the creative minds of people who dare to pioneer and are not afraid to tackle problems that others think are unsolvable. 

A problem that sounds simple, but actually is really complex! Hellen discovers the restrictions of the wheelchair and how hard it actually is to have such limited movements, when even the weight of a warm coat by itself is too much to handle.

Hellen was asked to try and help Nynke. Nynke has a progressive muscle disorder called Limp Girdle, causing her to lose her muscle function. She’s wheelchair bound, but leads a quite independent life, she can drive in her adjusted van, lives with her husband in a modern home with adjustments that make it possible for her to do most of the things she wants. There is one thing that really bothers her, and that is that she can’t put her own coat on and take it off again. This results her sometimes sitting with her coat on for hours until someone comes home to help, or delaying going out, because she doesn’t always want to ask for help. Hellen will try to make a warm coat for her that allows her to do it herself and discovers how hard it actually is to have such limited movements and the restrictions of the wheelchair, even the weight of a warm coat by itself is too much to handle… A problem that sounds simple, but actually is really complex! The episode airs on the 22nd of March 21.25h NPO 1, we’ll see if it all comes together in the end…

All episodes:

  • Ep. 1 Edwin Dertien helps Johannes, A bird watcher with a muscle disease who wants to be able to operate his camera and Renee Molman helps Juli who can’t swim independently because of her connective tissue disorder (1st March)
  • Ep. 2 Wouter Eggink helps Esther, she has no lower legs and fingers and wants to be able to get up stairs. Hellen van Rees helps Wouter who can’t go outside because of his Lupus (8th March)
  • Ep. 3 Edwin Dertien starts with a game controller for Mark who has a muscle disease.Kieth Truong and Arjan van Hessen make a voice computer for Joël who’s unable to make himself comprehendible because of a cerebral palsy (15th March)
  • Ep. 4 Edwin Dertien continues with the controller for Mark. Hellen van Rees wants to develop a coat for Nynke who is unable to put her coat on and off because of her muscle disease.Astrid Poot helps Camiel who’s wheelchair bound and can’t visit the toilet by himself (22nd March).