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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.

Jett Foundation Helps Tampa Family with Accessible Van

Scott Shelby, MobilityWorks of Tampa General Manager, congratulates Joe Wilcher and his son Austin.
Scott Shelby, MobilityWorks of Tampa General Manager, congratulates Joe Wilcher and his son Austin at our Tampa Florida store.

MobilityWorks was proud to be a part of the recent work done by the The Jett Foundation to help out a Tampa military family in need.

Austin Wilcher, a 12-year-old with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, needs to use a power wheelchair or scooter for his mobility. In order to get Austin around from place to place, his father John, an active duty member of the military and single father,  needed to buy a van that he could ride the scooter up and inside the vehicle with the use of a wheelchair ramp. Fortunately, MobilityWorks of Tampa had the right van that met all of their travel needs. Forrest Bateman, the MobilityWorks Certified Mobility Consultant, then worked with Joe and Austin to make sure all of the equipment would be a perfect fit to keep Austin mobile and safe.

The family raised half of the funds needed to purchase an accessible van through donations on their First Giving Page. The Jett Giving Fund then matched the remaining 50 percent of the cost of the vehicle.

“This van will help me transport Austin safely and efficiently, and allow him more independence,” said Joe Wilcher. “Raising a son with Duchenne as a single Dad is difficult, and expensive.”

Congratulations Austin… and thank you Joe for your service in our military!

Fox 13 Tampa Captures the Moment

The Fox 13 News team came to MobilityWorks and reported on the Wilcher van donation in their 5/9/2017 newscast. Click on the You Tube video arrow below to view the news segment.

About Jett Foundation

Through the Jett Giving Fund, Jett Foundation partners with families affected by Duchenne to help ease the financial burden of medical and transportation equipment.

Since 2001, Jett Foundation, located in Kingston, MA, has worked to find treatments and a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy while improving the lives of those affected by Duchenne. Jett Foundation is a registered charity with 501(c)(3) status from the IRS; all donations are tax deductible.

Dancing Wheels — One Dancer’s Passion Reaches Over 5 Million

DancingWheels-600For over 36 years, the Dancing Wheels Company has captivated audiences with performances ranging from classical to cutting edge. Eclectic works from nationally renowned choreographers infuse their programs with remarkable diversity, innovation and energy. With an extensive repertoire and a variety of production options, Dancing Wheels provides powerful performances for its audiences.

If dance is an expression of the human spirit, then it is best expressed by people of all abilities. That is the fundamental belief behind the Dancing Wheels Company & School. Considered one of the premier arts and disabilities organizations in the U.S., Dancing Wheels is a professional, physically integrated dance company uniting the talents of dancers both with and without disabilities.

Mary Verdi-Fletcher, the first professional wheelchair dancer in the U.S., is the driving force and founder of the Dancing Wheels Company founded in 1980. Born with spina bifida, Mary wanted to offer others with disabilities full and equal access into the world of dance. An almost unimaginable concept at the time, Mary’s vision and passion have since helped to revolutionize our very notion of dance — as well as what defines a dancer.

Through weekly in-studio classes and community outreach programs, The School of Dancing Wheels uses movement and performance in a unique approach to education and artistic opportunities. Individuals who previously found limited access to the arts due to physical, sensory,
or developmental disabilities enjoy inclusive dance and participatory learning with their disabled and non-disabled peers.

The Dancing Wheels Company’s inspirational mission has touched over 5 million people globally through performances, school assemblies, residencies and workshops. Millions more have enjoyed their artistry via appearances on CNN, Good Morning America, and the TV special Christopher Reeve: A Celebration of Hope.

Mary hasn’t stopped dancing. She is an integral
part of every performance. Her passion is unwavering and an inspiration to us all.