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16Dec/14Off

MobilityWorks Foundation Helps Organization Serving Children and Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Hattie Larlham resident Nichole is loaded into a new MobilityWorks Ford Transit van with a wheelchair lift. Photo courtesy of Hattie Larlham.

The MobilityWorks Foundation, Put-in-Bay Entertainers and Kepich Ford in Garrettsville Ohio came together this past Friday to present a brand new 2015 Ford Transit wheelchair van to Hattie Larlham, an organization in Northern Ohio that serves children and adults with severe developmental and physical disabilities.

The Ford Transit was converted by MobilityWorks Commercial staff with the latest technology in full-size adaptive vehicle conversions – for the purpose of transporting wheelchair riders and caregiving passengers to doctor’s appointments and community recreational programs.

“People with developmental disabilities need to have access to the community,” said Hattie Larlham CEO Dennis Allen. “They like to go to a variety of places and this vehicle makes that happen.”

In March of 2014 The MobilityWorks Foundation hosted a fundraiser at Tangiers entertainment complex in Akron Ohio featuring Mike 'Mad Dog' Adams and the Put-in-Bay Entertainers in order to help Hattie Larlham with this project. The day of entertainment raised more than $15,000 to help with the purchase of a new SmartFloor™ system by AMF Bruns of America, passenger seating, wheelchair securement system and a commercial-grade BraunAbility wheelchair lift.

“This vehicle is an opportunity for them [Hattie Larlham residents] to experience things, get out and be active,” said MobilityWorks President and CEO Bill Koeblitz. “I just can’t say enough about Hattie Larlham and the wonderful work they do. MobilityWorks is so proud to be a part of this project.”

Pete Kepich of Kepich Ford subsidized the van with a generous donation.

“It’s amazing the people that you can pull together to help other people,” said Kepich Ford President Pete Kepich. “To give back is very important, especially in today’s world, these folks need our help.”

Also on hand for the presentation of the keys were Assistant to the Mayor of Akron for Community Relations, Billy Soule, Mike Sweeney, the Tangier fund-raising organizer, and Mike “Mad Dog” Adams from Put-in-Bay Entertainers.

Left to right: Mike “Mad Dog” Adams, Mike Sweeney, Dennis Allen, Pete Kepich, Bill Koeblitz, and Billy Soule

About Hattie Larlham

Established in 1961, Hattie Larlham is a non-profit organization that provides services to 1,500 children and adults with developmental disabilities. Hattie Larlham inspires people with disabilities and their families to dream and achieve through the medical, residential, work training and recreational services the organization offers. For more information, visit www.hattielarlham.org.

About The MobilityWorks Foundation

The MobilityWorks Foundation is an Akron-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides financial assistance, vehicles and or equipment to selected individuals requiring adaptive vehicles or driving aids. 50% of individuals looking to purchase adaptive transportation lack financial assistance. The foundation's goal is to make the world accessible for physically challenged individuals and families. Its funding comes from direct donations, fund-raising, sponsorships and grants. For more information, visit www.themobilityworksfoundation.org.

12Dec/14Off

Solutions for Truck Lovers and Their Wheelchairs

This Chevy Silverado 1500 pickup is customized with a wheelchair lift. The driver stays in his or her wheelchair.

For some guys, and some ladies, there really isn't any other choice. They love their trucks and that's it. The message we get from many of our spinal cord injury clients is very clear... "I want to keep driving a pickup, not a minivan." Fortunately we have a few options that suit the needs for many of our truck lovers. The first is a MobilitySVM pickup truck conversion (shown above). This type of custom truck can be made for either the driver or passenger side position. The SVM door slides straight out from the cabin with a wheelchair lift as part of the door. The seat shown can be removed so that a wheelchair driver can stay in his or her wheelchair, secured by a docking device.

This Dodge Ram Crew Cab pickup is equipped with a Bruno lift and automated folding bed cover for storing the wheelchair.

A second option would be for the wheelchair driver to transfer from the wheelchair to a lift-up seat. The wheelchair would be hoisted into the bed with a special lift that swings out and lowers a strap for attaching to the chair. Push-button controls operated remotely raise, turn and lower the wheelchair into the bed. The special seating, also push-button controlled, allows for the driver to rise up and turn into the driver position.

These are two popular options, among others, that when combined with hand controls, seating and transfer solutions, can make riding in or driving in a pickup truck with a wheelchair a reality. A lot depends of the person's cognitive and physical abilities and the driving evaluation of a certified driver rehabilitation specialist (CDRS) that can be found at www.driver-ed.org. Contact us today for more information. You can also view our wheelchair pickup trucks for sale here.

 

9Dec/14Off

First Major Disability Legislation in 25 Years Passes 404-17 in House

ABLE Act would allow for tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities to cover qualified expenses such as education, housing, and transportation without effecting other benefits.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington State and her son Cole.

The ABLE Act stands for A Better Life Experience. For many people with disabilities and those who have children with a disability, it’s a major change in the IRS tax code that affects how individuals, caregivers, parents and friends can collect and save money for the future without having to worry about its effect on other benefits, such as the Medicaid program.

Known as H.R. 647, the ABLE Act of 2014 is a bi-partisan bill that passed on December 3, 2014 by a 404-17 vote in the House and now moves to the Senate.

"Right now, people with disabilities aren’t given the chance to save much of what they earn. It’s an outdated law that only encourages them to resign themselves to a life of dependence... 

The ABLE Act will change that."

— Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers

The ABLE Act would amend Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Service Code of 1986 to create tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. The bill aims to ease financial strains faced by individuals with disabilities by making tax-free savings accounts available to cover qualified expenses such as education, housing, and transportation. The bill would supplement, but not supplant, benefits provided through private insurances, the Medicaid program, the supplemental security income program, the beneficiary’s employment, and other sources.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington State is the primary sponsor of the new legislation. Her 7-year old son Cole has Down syndrome. It is the first major disability legislation in 25 years.

To follow this bill through the Senate and to the White House, go to https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/647.

4Dec/14Off

MobilityWorks Detroit Showroom Moves to New Location on 14 Mile Rd

Larger Showroom of Wheelchair Accessible Vans, Scooter Lifts and More Now Open in Madison Hts

Our new showroom is located "right around the corner" from our previous building.

Our Detroit service center has moved from its previous location on East Avis to 1604 E 14 Mile Rd in Madison Heights. For clients needing service or to speak directly to your mobility consultant, our local phone number is the same at: 248-616-3004. Customers and the general public are encouraged to stop by and see the new place, including a variety of new wheelchair van conversions onsite. Visit our Detroit store page here. Contact General Manager Mark Buday for additional information or to schedule a personal tour.

Details on an official "Open House" event will be coming in the spring of 2015 when the weather starts to warm up.

For those not living in the Detroit Michigan area, please go to our Contact Us page and request a free Needs Analysis at any one of our 32 store locations throughout the country.

25Nov/14Off

Horses for Lex… A Heartwarming Story of Compassion in this Season of Giving

Lex with Snickerdoodle

Alexus (Lex) Lasiter was born with Cerebral Palsy. She also suffers from a seizure disorder and has heart troubles and kidney problems. Typically, Lex goes to the doctor’s office at least once a month, but after a series of bladder problems brought her to the emergency room three times over a period of just a few weeks, the usually exuberant 7-year old was feeling very sad and down. Her mom wanted to do something to cheer her up….

Lex has two big loves in life; horses and receiving her own mail. So, her mom enlisted the help of an artist she knew to draw a picture of a horse for Lex and mail it to her. The artist; Travis Barker, then enlisted the help of some of his friends to also draw pictures of horses. In total, over 30 individuals contributed drawings of horses. The positive response prompted Barker to start a Facebook page devoted to the project, and so Horses for Lex was created.

The reaction continued to be overwhelming, with the Facebook site receiving hundreds of likes within days. More than 200 letters with paintings, sketches and drawings have arrived for Lex from across the U.S. and as far away as England, Germany, the Ukraine and Australia. To date, the Facebook page has over 10,000 likes!

One day, Barker received a message from Becky Anne Ross, a Florida woman who said she wanted to give Lex the ultimate gift: a horse named Snickerdoodle. Snickerdoodle had been rescued from abuse and had been given to another little girl with Cerebral Palsy. The young girl had started to outgrow the horse---opening up an opportunity for Lex. Lex’s love of horses had actually started when she attended horse therapy at the age of three. With adults by her side, Lex would go for a gentle ride on a horse. The motion of the horse’s trot made Lex flex muscles that she normally wouldn’t use, thereby strengthening the trunk of her body as well as her legs. Lex loved the horse therapy program, but unfortunately, it lost its funding and so her sessions stopped.

Barker messaged the family to see if they’d be able to take care of a horse. Luckily, the family was friends with a local horse rescue organization that could board Snickerdoodle until a more permanent home could be found. Hoofprints of the Heart, a rescue group in Arizona volunteered to transport the horse from Florida back to Oklahoma for the family.

Lex’s parents told her that they were making a trip to Florida so that she could ride a horse again and see the ocean for the first time in her life. Her parents decided to keep the fact that Snickerdoodle would be coming home a surprise.

When Lex arrived in Florida and met Snickerdoodle, her parents could see the happiness and excitement in her eyes immediately!

As soon as Lex got on the horse and began to ride him around the courtyard at the stables, everyone could see the bond beginning to form! Anytime Lex would slightly lose her balance, Snickerdoodle would simply stop and stand still, as he completely understood her special needs. At the end of her ride, the surprise was revealed that Lex could take Snickerdoodle home!

Lex’s story reminds us all of the power of the human spirit — and how powerful gestures of kindness (no matter how great or seemingly small) have an amazing impact.