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Youngster Doesn’t Win Van Giveaway Contest Then Gets a New Van!

A Role Model to His Peers, Aaron Negrete Receives a Brand New Wheelchair Van Donated by Sacramento Auto Dealers

Ten-year-old Aaron Negrete was born without arms or legs. But that hasn’t stopped him from living life to the fullest and inspiring others. A local television station reveals the wonderful news about a van donation to a surprised Aaron and mom.

The following is the essay submitted to the National Mobility Awareness Month Van Giveaway Contest back in May, which Aaron didn’t win. After seeing his story on Good Day Sacramento, the Greater Sacramento New Car Dealers Association, their foundation partner Shriners Hospitals for Children, and other generous donors worked together to provide his mother Juanita with a brand new Chrysler Town and Country van from MobilityWorks. The modified minivan has a VMI Northstar in-floor ramp conversion perfect for their family needs and the ramp requirements of Aarons’ power wheelchair.
Watch his story and van presentation here on Good Day Sacramento.

From the National Mobility Awareness Month contest website…

A hero is someone who deeply influences our lives; someone who faces seemingly insurmountable obstacles with superhuman resilience; a role model — someone we deeply admire and wish to emulate. Aaron Negrete is one such person.
Aaron is 10 years old. He was born with Tetra-Amelia syndrome, leaving him without arms or legs. Every day presents new challenges for him, but he is determined to not let his disability interfere with his life. With relentless dedication, Aaron has learned to do many things by himself. He can now maneuver across a room, write and draw using a pencil in his mouth, and even swim. Last year, he played the lead in the school play, and will play the Lion in “The Wizard of Oz” this spring.
Aaron’s strength, optimism, and sense of humor make him a role model to his peers. He helps other students overcome their fear of being different. As he explained in second grade, “It really doesn’t matter what color your skin is, how tall you are, or if you have any arms or legs. Because inside we’re all just kids or people. We’re all the same inside even if we look different on the outside.” Watching Aaron overcome his limitations inspires other students to overcome their own. His compassion, empathy, and thoughtfulness for others are truly inspirational, to adults and students alike. Volunteers who have worked with him have become so impressed with his capabilities, compassion, and wisdom that some have actually gone to Congress to push for more laws to help the physically challenged.

Aaron has many dreams for the future. One of his dreams is to design cars. He cherishes his independence, and strives to accomplish as much as he can by himself. His electric wheelchair gives him the freedom of mobility most of us take for granted. To use it, he needs a special wheelchair-accessible van. His current van is almost 20 years old, and requires constant maintenance. Aaron’s mom works two jobs to support their family, and cannot afford a newer, reliable van — or one of the better used handicap vans for sale. Without the opportunity to explore his world and have the same life experiences as an able-bodied child, Aaron may not be able to accomplish his many dreams.

Aaron has a promising future. He is our local hero, our inspiration. Assisting him to have the independence he so greatly deserves would make a world of difference in his life.

Congratulations Aaron!

2014 New York Metro Abilities Expo

Thanks to all of those people who stopped by to see us!

MobilityWorks NY Metro Abilities Expo 2014

MobilityWorks truly enjoyed participating in the 2014 Abilities Expo- NY Metro, held last Friday; May 2nd-Sunday, May 4th at the NJ Convention Center in Edison, NJ. Our team had the opportunity to speak with many great people—some of whom we already have the pleasure of knowing and working with, and many new faces too! We were able to answer questions on wheelchair accessible vehicles, rentals, hand controls and more!

The three-day event was filled with a wide variety of educational, informative and FUN activities. Among the highlights were guest appearances by the Sundance Channel’s Push Girls’ Chelsie Hills’ Walk & Roll Dance Team, and Push Girls’ Tiphany Adams; who is an inspiring speaker and dedicated advocate for disability awareness.

In addition, exhibitions on wheelchair ballroom dancing and martial arts therapy were held, as well as a presentation on the amazing ReWalk Robotic Exoskeleton system which helps enable people with lower limb disabilities to walk again.

Thanks to all of those people who stopped by to see us!

Gas Stations Designed for Easy Fueling

Do the pumps in your area measure up?

“I always have my husband go to get gas for me… it can be a real pain going to fill up.”

The able-bodied person can go to just about any gas station in the United States and the process to fill up the tank will be the same. They simply get out of the car, truck or SUV, swipe the credit card (or go inside with cash) and in less than five minutes time they are on their way to the next destination. But what if you are in a wheelchair? That process is much different depending on where you go and whether the operating buttons are at accessible height. If the keypad isn’t at a lower height, like the one shown above, they are nearly impossible to reach from a wheelchair. A station with eight pumps may have one with a keypad at a lower height, below 54″ to meet ADA compliance standards — but that doesn’t help with getting in and out of the vehicle. Many stations have a sticker on the pump with a “call for assistance” phone number. But, they are often out of service, no one inside picks up the phone, or it goes to a toll-free 800 number that rings to a remote call center. The process can be described as something that much less than world-class customer service.

For many individuals, refueling means honking the horn to get an attendant’s attention or waiting to ask another station customer for help. Some of our clients told us they have a friend or family member tag along for the ride whenever they need a refuel. “I always have my husband go to get gas for me” said one woman. That’s not always very convenient, especially when travelling. For those who drive a non-converted vehicle with hand controls, assembling and disassembling the wheelchair to get in and out can be a very time-consuming process. Fortunately, there is a better solution that is starting to take hold.

Fuel Call® rings a device inside to let the attendant know that someone needs assistance with re-fueling.

Fuel Call® is the product name of Inclusion Solutions wireless assistance technology that provides the person in a wheelchair with a very a simple, easy way of contacting a gas station attendant. There is no obscure phone number to call. An ADA compliant push-button, positioned at exactly 48″ high directly beside the pump, signals a device inside the station. It has a distinctive ring-tone and flashes a strobe light to let the attendant know there is someone needing help at a pump. It is currently being used at more than 500 stations throughout the country.

Advocacy and Legislation

Getting buy-in from the station owners to make the investment hasn’t been easy. Patrick Hughes, Founder and CEO of Inclusion Solutions says that most owners see placing a sticker on a pump with a phone number as being all that’s needed to be compliant. Whether the call is being answered 100% of the time and assistance is being provided in a timely manner is another story. For Hughes, his products are more about providing better service and retaining good customers. “Why wouldn’t you want that?” – says Hughes. Accessibility has been his passion since becoming friends in college with a fellow student who had cerebral palsy. His other self-designed solutions provide a similar service for restaurants and stores that don’t have an accessible ramp or automatic door. Big Bell™ alerts staff inside that assistance is needed at the door. They typically come out with a portable ramp to go over a threshold or step that can’t easily be removed or redesigned. At least it provides a method of accessibility.

Florida’s Broward County just recently passed a law requiring that gas stations post a phone number on gas pumps or provide an intercom system like Fuel Call® so that drivers can ask for help with refueling. A service station employee is then required by law to offer help. The movement is also picking up some steam with advocacy groups as well. Representatives with the Paralyzed Veterans Association (PVA) and members of congress are also working toward better gas station accessibility and service. Everyone agrees that honking horns and calling disconnected 800 numbers needs to be a thing of the past.

What’s Your Gas Station Story? Good or Bad…

Do you honk the horn, have a favorite gas station or attendant, have a friend come along for the ride, roll down the window and ask a passer-by for help — or just grin and bear it, getting in and out spending more time at a gas station than most people do to eat their lunch? Let us know on our Facebook page.

 

Oktoberfest Coming to MobilityWorks of Pasadena

Guest Speakers and Exhibitors Kick Off Inaugural Pasadena Store Event – Friday, October 25th.

Please join us at MobilityWorks of Pasadena on Friday October 25, 2013, from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM for an exciting Oktoberfest celebration. There will be special guest speakers beginning at 11 AM until 3 PM. Topics include Medicare Changes, Reverse Mortgages, Assistive Technology, and Neuromuscular Disease Research. Plus, there will be a chance for guests to win raffle prizes and promotional items. Our Pasadena store is located at 325 N. Altadena Drive, Suite A, Pasadena, CA 91107.

For more information, visit our Pasadena Octoberfest page here.

Our Oktoberfest Exhibitors:

Amramp
Apple West Home Medical Supply
At Home Living Solutions
Braun
CareMore
Colours Wheelchairs
Douglas LaMarche – Wheelchair Artist
El Dorado
Glendale Adventist Medical Center Rehab Medicine Services
Harmar
Kangen Water and Coffee
Kinova USA
Mobility Lifter
National Spinal Cord Injury Association
Pro Bed Medical Technologies
Rolling Start, Inc Center for Independent Living
SCI Total Fitness
Senior Ability Travel
ShelfGenie
Total Comfort Home Care
Villa Esperanza Services
Villa Gardens
VMI

Visit our Pasadena CA store web page and meet the entire team.

MobilityWorks of Atlanta Participates in “Ride for Kids”

175 motorcylce riders lined up to raise awareness for The Fragile Kids Foundation.

MobilityWorks of Atlanta proudly supported the “Ride for Kids” fundraising event held in Newnan, GA on Saturday August 10, 2013 to help raise awareness and money for The Fragile Kids Foundation. Over 175 motorcycle riders convened at Great South Harley Davidson in Newnan and had a police escort as they rode their bikes on an hour-long tour. The event was a day of fun including horse rides for children, kids’ games, tasty food from Atlanta’s own Varsity restaurant, music, and a “touch a truck” experience for all ages.

The Fragile Kids Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides wheelchair lifts for home and vans, ramping, specialty seating, bathing equipment, toileting equipment, therapy bikes, strollers, and much more to the medically fragile children of Georgia. They help fill the “insurance gap” between what is deemed medically necessary for a medically fragile child and what is actually covered by private insurance or Medicaid.

MobilityWorks of Atlanta offers a wide selection of quality new and used handicap equipped vans designed to accommodate your individual needs. Our team of mobility consultants will help to explain the different styles of ramps and minivans available to you. No matter what your driving preferences, we’ll find the right van, scooter lift, transfer seat or other adaptive equipment meeting your requirements.

For more information on adaptive vehicles that offer independence and mobility for people with disabilities, visit www.mobilityworks.com.

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