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29Jan/15Off

Winter Blizzards Got You Snowed In? There’s An App for That!

From Mobile Smart Phone to Mobility, Uber-Like Plowz App Provides for On-Demand Snow Plowing in a Few Easy Steps

If you don’t have a regular snowplow driver – or your teenage neighbor doesn’t shovel as well or as often as you’d like, what’s a person to do when it starts to get really bad outside? Fortunately there’s now an app for scheduling a plow to clean your driveway on-demand.

The PLOWZ app is shown here on an Apple iPhone. They also have a MOWZ app for lawn care using the same process.

Here’s How It Works

If you’ve ever used or heard of ride-share programs like Uber or Lyft, it’s a very similar concept. Local plow drivers sign up to be a Plowz resource and agree to a set fee based on the approximate size of the driveway. The closest PLOWZ driver will receive the request and add it to their route to complete. The MOWZ portion of the app is for people needing to have their lawns mowed – using the same principle. Once the job is finished, the driver takes a picture of your cleared driveway and uploads it for the user to see. Your preregistered credit card is then charged for the service.

In testing the app near Cleveland OH, a double-wide driveway approximately 3 to 5 cars in length would cost around $35. Costs may vary by city and fuel prices at the time of service. For our wheelchair clients, the concept seemed like a newsworthy service for us to share. PLOWZandMOWZ received many favorable reviews from a lot of different sources, including: Bloomberg Business Week, The Boston Globe, The Weather Channel, Daily Herald, and Fox Business News. Since this is relatively new, please let us know about your experience.

To get started, simply download the free app called "Plowz and Mowz". A few simple questions need to be answered during the registration process, including the approximate size and shape of your drive. Some of the cities being served where MobilityWorks has a store location includes: Akron OH; Albany NY; Chicago IL; Cincinnati OH; Cleveland OH; Detroit MI; Milwaukee WI; Nashville TN; and Pittsburgh PA.

So when two feet of snow hits your home town, now you can take care of it from the comfort of your living room with the download of an app and a few keystrokes.

To see if there are PLOWZ services in your area, go to http://plowzandmowz.com/plowz-app/.

Note: Plowz states that the driveway needs to be staked beforehand. Most hardware stores and home centers carry thin colored rods used by professionals for this purpose. The Plowz driver may also do this for you by request.

28Jan/15Off

Paralympian Amy Purdy Stars in Toyota’s Super Bowl Spot

Toyota will feature Amy Purdy in their new TV commercial airing this weekend during the Super Bowl.  Amy is an inspiring young bronze medal winning Paralympic snowboarder, dancer and model.

We featured Amy’s story---and her triumphs--- in our May 2014 Mobility Matters e-newsletter. At the time of our article,  Amy was returning from the Paralympic games in Sochi, Russia and was preparing to train for the TV show; Dancing with the Stars.

The Toyota TV spot entitled; “How Great I Am”  features Amy snowboarding down a mountain, cycling, ballroom dancing and most importantly, persevering through life’s difficulties.  The video is set to a voiceover from 1974 of Muhammad Ali describing the meaning of greatness.  Ali first used the rhyming verse to predict victory right before he fought the favored George Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle” fight.

Toyota’s message with the spot is to encourage people to make bold choices and to live a bold life. Purdy stated; "All my life I've been faced with choices, and I've been determined to be bold through every one of them. I have a great relationship with Toyota, and to be in an ad that encourages others to persevere and be bold in their own lives is something that is hard to accurately put into words."

 

Watch it on YouTube here.

25Jan/15Off

35th National Veterans Wheelchair Games Coming to Dallas in June

Games are Much More than a Wheelchair Sports Program

Registration is now open for the 35th NVWG being held in Dallas this June 21-26, 2015. Volunteers needed.

Veterans enjoy a casual hand cycling training session together on the track. Comradery and friendship is just as much a part of the games as the actual sporting events.

Co-Presented by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), Veterans from all over the country will be traveling to Dallas to compete in 18 different team and individual wheelchair sporting events. Team sports include: softball, basketball, quad rugby, and power soccer.

The National Veterans Wheelchair Games is much more than just a wheelchair sports program. It is also a rehabilitation program that empowers our Veterans to be more active – and brings the entire community together for emotional support. Experienced veteran athletes educate newly disabled Veterans on what is possible and that many limitations are only a state of mind. Adaptive sports are often used with rehabilitation programs to help get patients active and involved in doing something they enjoy. For beginners, there are smaller local events and different levels of competition so that everyone can enjoy the games, regardless of the standings.

Any Veteran with a Spinal Cord Injury, Multiple Sclerosis, Amputation or other neurological injury that uses a wheelchair for sport is eligible to participate.

For more information about the NVWG and all that they do for our heroes, please go to http://wheelchairgames.org/. Athlete registration is due by April 15, 2015.

Volunteers Needed

For a truly rewarding experience, volunteers interested in helping out at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Dallas can learn more at http://wheelchairgames.org/volunteers/.

20Jan/15Off

Muscular Dystrophy Researchers Working on a Therapy Breakthrough

Image copyright by iStock International. Used by MobilityWorks with permission.

Scientists, led by 2012 Nobel Prize winner Dr. Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University in Japan, have announced that they are inching closer to a therapy for muscular dystrophy. The therapy works by using genome editing to convert a patient's skin cells into healthy muscle cells. Genome editing involves using enzymes to remove faulty genetic material before replacing it with corrected DNA.

Researchers hope that the newly made cells improve the performance of failing muscles in patients----which may alleviate some of the worst symptoms of the condition.

Muscular dystrophy is a group of muscle diseases that weaken the musculoskeletal system and impede movement. Muscular dystrophies are characterized by progressive skeletal muscle weakness, defects in muscle proteins and the death of muscle cells and tissues.

Dr. Yamanaka's work has also revealed that by creating healthy muscle cells from a patient's skin cells, any risk of cells being rejected by the patient's immune system appear to be avoidable.

The goal is that the injections of healthy cells will provide enough dystrophin (cytoplasmic protein that connects the cytoskeleton of a muscle fiber to the surrounding extracellular matrix through the cell membrane) to boost the existing muscle tissue in the patient. A lack of dystrophin is what causes muscle fibres to become damaged and waste away.

For patients who have difficulty breathing, chewing and/or swallowing, targeting and strengthening the muscles that control those functions could result in dramatic physical improvements and quality of life.

The healthy cell injections would focus on improving certain localized muscles (such as those that impact breathing, chewing and/or swallowing), as correcting all of the muscle fibres in the entire body would, at this time, would be too challenging.

Further work and safety-testing will be required before the new technology can be taken to clinical trials.

For more information, please visit the Guardian website.

 

16Jan/15Off

SmartFloor™ for Commercial Vans Offers Custom Flexibility for Wheelchair Transport Vehicles

Revolutionary flooring product offered by MobilityWorks now available for Ram ProMaster and Ford Transit commercial van platforms.

SmartFloor™ seating inside a Ram ProMaster van. The vehicle has a BraunAbility Century lift installed in the back.

Whenever someone sees the Transit Works SmartFloor™ product for the first time and begins to grasp the benefits of being able to quickly rearrange the seating, or remove them altogether, there’s always an ‘aha’ moment.

Inside most of the newer MobilityWorks commercial fleet vehicles, the SmartFloor that’s being installed will provide its new owner/operator with more flexibility than they’ve ever had before. That flexibility will result in operational savings and better service to the customer.

Here’s how:

Instead of having all of the seating permanently bolted to the floor, a transportation company or fleet owner now has the option to quickly rearrange the interior layout and re-purpose the vehicle for a different function in literally a matter of minutes.

In the case of a wheelchair transportation provider (such as an assisted living center), there may only be a few occasions every week where they need to have two wheelchair positions available, while the remaining passengers typically being transported need bench seating. If given notice that a second wheelchair passenger is being picked up, they can easily remove the necessary bench seats and re-install them when the trip is completed. This reduces the number of total trips being made. For the wheelchair community, that means better service because providers will be able to quickly adapt to changing needs.

With this type of flexibility, the SmartFloor installed on the Ram ProMaster or the Ford Transit really is a smart decision. The SmartFloor is a patented product available exclusively in North America from Transit-Works and its certified bus, OEM and mobility dealers across America.

For more information on the SmarFloor for Commercial Vans, call Transit Works at 1-855-337-9543.