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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.

Be There – David Trude

Almost 20 years ago Dave Trude was injured in an industrial accident that shattered his T11 vertebrae. He instantly lost the use of his legs, but did not lose his adventurous attitude. Dave had sailed competitively since he was a teenager, but knew continuing this may be difficult from a wheelchair. He quickly learned about the little known sport of Blokart racing, and since then has become one of the top competitors in the world!

The Blokart was designed and developed in 1999 by inventor Paul Beckett. With a background in hang gliding, he was inspired to build a wind powered vehicle that was fun, fast and compact. His vision was a great success as the Blokart can reach speeds of up to 60 mph and be broken down to fit in a carrying case in a matter of minutes. The sport gained immediate interest in Beckett’s home country of New Zealand, and since then has picked up a following in South Africa and the United States. Unlike land sailing, the Blokart is completely controlled by the users hands, which made this the perfect sport for Dave.

In 2016 Trude’s talents were on display at the North American Championships where he took home second place! Just a few weeks later Dave brought home the bronze medal at the Blokart World Championships held in his home state of California. Unfortunately, Dave was unable to compete in the 2017 North American tournament held earlier this month due to a family emergency. However, he is already looking forward to a shot at first place in 2018!

This is How We Roll Fashion Show

fashion_show_fittedEarlier this month the Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation held their 4th annual “This is How We Roll Fashion Show”. The event was held just outside of Milwaukee, WI where almost 40 models, ranging in age from 5 to 70, showed off some of the latest trends in fashion. Current Miss Wisconsin winner Courtney Pelot and local celebrity Luke Bebeau hosted the show that was attended by almost 300 people.  This was their largest amount raised to date with over $35,000 being donated to help fund research as well as support the local community.

In 1998, while attending Marquette University, Bryon was injured in a car accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down. Following the accident, his family and friends pulled together to put on a fundraiser that would help with Bryon’s medical costs. This inspired Bryon to form the nonprofit in 2001, that over the past 16 years has raised over $4 million dollars towards the fight against paralysis.  Every year they award research grants to some of the brightest minds and best research facilities in the United States. They also help individuals in the local community with the cost of adaptive equipment, as well as scholarships for college tuition.

Bryon Riesch puts on several other annual events including a golf outing, bowling tournament and a team race for kids. He initially organized the fashion show to bring attention to issues such as inclusion, medical research and improving accessibility. As his organization continues to grow and gain national media attention Bryon is looking forward to helping even more individuals and researchers.

Check out the video below to see some of the “This is How We Roll Fashion Show”

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