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MobilityWorks in Santa Clara Hosts Local ALS Chapter

Do you remember in the summer of 2015 when the “Ice Bucket Challenge” took the internet by storm? Since that time, the viral videos have helped raise over $100 million for ALS research! Earlier this month MobilityWorks located in Santa Clara, CA hosted the ALS Golden West chapter for their open house, and on a crisp day in the Bay they brought back the popular challenge. MobilityWorks General Manager Steve Riffle and his team created the event to help boost their fundraising efforts as they will be participating in the Silicon Valley Walk to Defeat ALS on October 8th.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also commonly referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”, was first discovered in 1869. The ALS Association estimates there are over 20,000 Americans living with the disease at any given time. For over 30 years their organization has been raising awareness and funding research with the hope of ultimately finding a cure for ALS.

On September 19th, the Golden West ALS chapter showed up at MobilityWorks in the afternoon with plenty of ice cold buckets of water and cameras were rolling. In the past, it was tradition to nominate three other participants to either take the ice bucket challenge or donate, but Steve went above and beyond. He nominated several friends, family members and co-workers to participate. You can watch the video on the Walk to Defeat ALS – Golden West Chapter Facebook page.

Steve Riffle and his team have currently raised of $1,500 towards their goal of reaching $5,000 before the walk next month. The Silicon Valley Walk has a total goal of raising $210,000 and with a few weeks to go, they are almost half way there. Click here if you are in the Bay area and interested in participating in the walk or visit the MobilityWorks team page to learn more or donate to their cause.

MobilityWorks is Proud to Support Operation Injured Soldiers

Photo from Operation Injured Soldiers: https://www.facebook.com/operationinjuredsoldiers

Founded in 2005, Operation Injured Soldiers is a nonprofit organization in Michigan that provides recreation opportunities to wounded veterans. Their mission is to thank heroes for their sacrifices and help get them back into sports and hobbies they enjoyed prior to deployment. Last month, the group took their annual Muskie fishing trip and a few members from MobilityWorks tagged along for the excursion.

MobilityWorks Chief Financial Officer and avid fisherman Gerhard Schmidt first got involved with Operation Injured Soldier five years ago. Their shared passions for the outdoors and helping America’s veterans made for the perfect partnership. Schmidt attended the annual fishing trip for years, but this time he was unable to attend. However, fellow MobilityWorks employees, Brett Meals and Alex Kyger, were happy to fill in!

Gerhard Schmidt said “It has been an honor watching this event grow into what it has become knowing that it provides wonderful benefits to our Veterans. What could be better than spending a day with the heroes of our country fishing?” The annual trip has grown to include over 30 boats (several of them wheelchair accessible) and 100 participants. All of the proceeds for the event go to the Brave Hearts Estate, an over 200-acre farm that was donated to Operation Injured Soldiers. Throughout the year, they host several events at the farm, and the lodge there also offers free lodging to Veterans and their families.

On September 18th, the group set sail on Lake St Clair just East of Detroit. Alex and Brett were paired with two retired Veterans and their boat had a very successful day. They caught 7 Muskies in total with three of them coming in at over 40 inches! The evening concluded with a dinner at the Grosse Point Yacht Club. It was a great day of fishing, and most importantly the event raised over $100,000 towards helping America’s heroes.

Follow them on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/operationinjuredsoldiers

The Jett Foundation Celebrates Their 6th Jett Giving Fund Success

MobilityWorks was happy to join in the celebration with The Jett Foundation as they celebrated their 6th Jett Giving Fund success by gifting Liam McGourty and his family with a new wheelchair accessible minivan.

11-year old Liam McGourty was born with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and is mostly confined to a power chair. With a handicap accessible van, Liam can now safely and easily travel to doctor’s appointments, friend’s houses, school, and family events.

After the McGourty family, with the help of their local community, raised half the cost of the handicap accessible van for the Jett Giving Fund, Jett Foundation matched those funds and gifted the van to Liam and his family.

The Jett Giving Fund is a matching gift program that helps families affected by Duchenne who struggle to afford special equipment often not covered under insurance, such as handicap accessible vehicles, scooters, and rotating beds.

To learn more about the Jett Giving Fund and how you can help more kids like Liam get the equipment they need, please visit https://www.jettfoundation.org/jett-giving-fund/

Check out Liams reaction to his new ride in this video.

Ms. Wheelchair America — 46 Years Of Advocacy

Kelly-Boyd-imLast year’s winner of our national “be there” contest was Kelly Boyd. Her empowering story motivated all of us to think outside of the box and live life to the fullest by helping others. In her story, Kelly shared with us that it was her involvement in the Ms. Wheelchair program that was the stepping stone to her rewarding career in emergency management.

Today, Kelly is one of over 500 state titleholders who have participated in the Ms. Wheelchair America program in the last 20 years. In 1972, there were three contestants. Today there are 30 state titleholders who have won the ability to compete for this year’s crown August 14–20 in Erie, PA. Each contestant is selected for their accomplishments in advocacy, achievement, communication and presentation. The winner makes guest appearances across the U.S. promoting their platform.

If you take a moment and read each of the winners’ bios on their website, you’ll discover that the Ms. Wheelchair America pageant creates life-changing opportunities for its participants. Twenty years ago, Elaine Stefanowicz was crowned Ms. Wheelchair America. Her participation helped her win a full scholarship, and today she serves on the Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues & Employment and is an Educational Planner at Green River Community College in Auburn, WA.

Elaine and Kelly are just two of the hundreds of women who have participated in the Ms. Wheelchair America pageant whose passion has driven them to connect with what matters most. In honor of the Ms. Wheelchair America pageant and the passionate women who participate, MobilityWorks is proud to be the accessible vehicle sponsor for the 2018 pageant.

Re-engineering Sam — Glimpse Into The Future

Sam-600What started out as a team-building exercise to the Cleveland International film festival quickly became a possible look into the future of our industry, a reaffirmation of how life can change in an instant, and a renewed appreciation for how passion with a positive optimistic outlook can drive people to do the unimaginable.

The film “Re-engineering Sam” chronicles the journey of quadriplegic Sam Schmidt, an Indy race car driver who despite a crash in 2000 that rendered him a quadriplegic, never lost his hope or passion to drive. Throughout the movie you are drawn to Sam, his family, and their very honest portrayal of everyday vulnerabilities. Sam’s incredible drive to race and be a part of the racing industry has had an impact on everyone close to him. It would, inevitably, be the impact that Sam had on a fan, that would make his dreams of driving a car again come true.

During the film we are given an inside look at the doctors and scientists, who are just as driven and dedicated as Sam, to advancing adaptive technologies. Their ground-breaking technology that utilizes head movements and brain waves is paving the way for advances in the way people with spinal cord injuries operate and communicate. For Sam, the technology has allowed him to drive again.

May of 2016, Sam attained 152 mph in his adapted car at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Sam’s car uses four cameras to monitor his head and transmit his movements to the tires. He also uses voice commands to switch gears, head motions to steer and breath manipulation to accelerate and brake. In September, he was awarded the first restricted license in the nation to drive a semi-autonomous car by Nevada Lt. Governor Mark Hutchison. Driverless technology may be on the horizon, but for passionate drivers like Sam there’s nothing better than being behind the wheel.