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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 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


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.



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.


2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games Coming to Los Angeles

Venues throughout Los Angeles, including USC and UCLA, to host 25 different sporting competitions.

The 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games are being held this summer in Los Angeles, California July 25-Aug 2nd. 7,000 Special Olympic athletes will be competing in 25 different events ranging from beach volleyball to tennis! Go to 2015 Special Olympics in LA for details.

Three cheers to Kaiser Permanente for dedicating their Rose Bowl Parade float in Pasadena this year to honor the Special Olympics World Games and its athletes!

Volunteers Needed

The committee is looking for volunteers. Thousands of volunteers support the athletes in creating a memorable and unique experience at the games. Enthusiastic and committed volunteers will be recruited to serve in many capacities.

Please go to for more information if you are interested in this rewarding experience.

Jobs for Transportation Coordinators and Managers

The Special Olympics Committee is currently advertising for a Transportation Coordinator, Transportation Manager of Special Events, and Manager of Transportation Scheduling. If you have a professional background in this area, go to to apply.

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HANDICAP THIS! with Mike Berkson and Tim Wambach Appearing in Chicago Jan 21-25

Mike Berkson and Tim Wambach of HANDICAP THIS!

Step Up Productions Presents HANDICAP THIS!
January 21 – 25, 2015 at Stage 773

Join us at a special one-week engagement of the touching and humorous two-man show HANDICAP THIS! – part comedy, part storytelling and part insight on living with disabilities.

Written and performed by nationally acclaimed duo Mike Berkson and Tim Wambach, HANDICAP THIS! is inspired by the original script by Molly Mulcrone and directed by Denis Berkson. This special collaboration will play January 21 – 25, 2015 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago.

Comedic duo Mike Berkson (born with cerebral palsy) and Tim Wambach (his one-time aide) tap the power of laughter for an unconventional evening of storytelling. The unique journey of their friendship over the past 13 years celebrates the power of diversity and inclusion – and provides new insight on people living with disabilities.

Tickets are on sale at or, by calling (773) 327-5252 or in person at the Stage 773 Box Office.

Partial Proceeds to Benefit Keep on Keeping On Foundation

Partial proceeds from HANDICAP THIS! will benefit the Keep On Keeping On Foundation, assisting those living with severe physical disabilities and educating and empowering others to make a difference in their community. For additional information, visit As part of its mission, Step Up Productions donates a portion of its proceeds to organizations in and around Chicago that support issues often highlighted in its productions.

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