Since 1986, EverDry in Toledo has waterproofed over 80,000 basements throughout Ohio and Michigan. Owner Ken Rusk has been in the industry for almost 30 years, and believes deeply in local charities and continues to drive his company in the direction of giving back and making a difference in people’s lives. They have worked with The Make-A-Wish Foundation to help send local children to Disney, and even funded a humanitarian trip to Haiti where their friend Shane visited several orphanages. EverDry also works with several local charities that provide food and shelter to children in need.
Most recently, EverDry met and started raising funds for Will Jonsson. Will is just like any other 9 year old boy. He loves to ride horses, go swimming, and play baseball, but unlike most boys, Will suffered a brain injury during delivery and now lives with cerebral palsy. One of the biggest challenges for his parents was being able to transfer him in and out of their car. They started a fundraising campaign for a new accessible van and when EverDry caught wind of it they knew they could help!
They generously agreed to match any funds raised by the community, with an end goal of $22,000. Last month EverDry reached out to MobilityWorks of Toledo, and Certified Mobility Consultant Matt Roeder was able to help find the perfect vehicle for the Jonsson’s needs. After meeting with the family, Matt said, “It was definitely one of those moments that really showed me why I do, what I do every day.”
If you would like to donate to the Jonsson’s or any other of EverDry’s charitable causes, click here.
Many wheelchair users face multiple challenges to perform everyday tasks. That’s why we love hearing about people coming together and getting creative to find a solution. You won’t believe these amazing adaptions that solve problems wheelchair users face.
Peter is a New Jersey resident with cerebral palsy. He wrote to Sony complaining about his PlayStation touch-pad interfering with his gaming experience. Alex, a Sony employee, wrote back promising a solution. He put in about 10 hours of work to create a custom controller with a second button that rerouted the touch-pad’s functions. Now, Peter can play and enjoy his games without interference.
“The email you sent definitely struck a chord within,” Alex replied in a letter back to Peter. “It killed me to hear how something you used to enjoy thoroughly was being ruined because of our new controller design.”
Alex asked for feedback on how the controller performed and told Peter he was making a second controller in case the first breaks.
Brin is a sixth grader with cerebral palsy. Her limited motor skills made opening her locker a challenging task. When classmates caught wind of her difficulties, 8 seniors in an engineering class designed an adapted lock over 5 months. After several prototypes, the students redesigned the lock into one motion to easily pop the lock. The lock was printed using a 3D printer. Brin said she wants to be an engineer when she grows up so she too can help others with disabilities.
“It certainly gives me more independence,” said Brin, who said the old lock was frustrating and she’s thankful to the seniors who came up with the solution. “A simple design on a computer turned into something that could help me. It’s pretty amazing!”
Sharina is a first-time mom that lost the use of her legs when she was shot as a child. When she was pregnant, she was concerned about handling a stroller with her newborn. Sharina called the local university as they work with high school students to give them college-level research projects. 16-year-old Alden was assigned the project to create an adapted wheelchair stroller. His biggest priority was making sure the device was safe for the baby. Alden was motivated by Sharina’s due date to get the project completed in a timely manner. The device is made from stainless steel piping with connectors that attach it to Sharina’s wheelchair. The teenager is hoping the device can be used by other new parents as well.
“I love it,” Sharina said of the stroller attachment. “It makes everything so much easier. He’s [Alden] a great kid. He is going to be an amazing engineer.”
Mary, a 7-year-old with muscular atrophy, can now swing in her backyard thanks to an accessible swing her father built her. Her father, Ryan, has a background in mechanical engineering. He had drafted plans to build the swing to hold Mary and her 450-pound chair. Ryan won a parenting website grant to fund the project so Mary now enjoys the coolest swing in the state of Alabama.
“The accessible playgrounds are 10 or 15 miles away,” Ryan said. “Mary said she wanted a swing that her chair can go in. So, I said I would do it. The only thing Mary is limited by is our imagination. You have to be the person who enables your child to live a normal life.”
Matthew was born with cerebral palsy. Since he was born, he has overcome many limitations doctors predicted for him. Tying his shoes was still a challenge. Matthew wrote a letter to Nike saying, “My dream is to go to the college of my choice without having to worry about someone coming to tie my shoes every day. I’ve worn Nike basketball shoes all my life. I can only wear this type of shoe because I need ankle support to walk. At 16 years old, I am able to completely dress myself, but my parents still have to tie my shoes. As a teenager who is striving to become totally self-sufficient, I find this extremely frustrating and, at times, embarrassing.”
The letter landed in the hands of Nike designer Tobie who has worked with Special Olympians. The two worked together for three years to develop the Nike FLYEASE sneaker. The wrap-around zipper solution opens the back of the shoe making it easy to slide the foot in and out. Matthew is now a student at Florida Gulf Coast University and can be seen wearing his FLYEASE sneakers all over campus.
Amphibious All-Terrain Vehicle
Alfred owns 650 acres in Florida and has always considered himself to be an outdoorsy person. He purchased a 6-wheeled amphibious ATV and knew he had to bring it to MobilityWorks to convert. The Tampa location installed driving controls, extended the shifter handle and added a chest strap and taller backrest, among other adjustments. The service team even added a remote jump port connector that would jump start the vehicle for Alfred if it lost power while in the water.
“Hats off, awesome job!” Alfred said of the Tampa team’s commitment. He enjoys taking the ATV out every day with his son and at family functions. Alfred’s mobility challenges no longer stop him from fishing and enjoying his land.
Transportation can be a huge challenge for wheelchair users. That’s why we offer many solutions from lifts to adapted vehicles. Find out how an accessible vehicle can offer you the freedom you deserve by clicking here.
We are happy to announce the addition of five new locations to our list of service centers with the addition of Carolina Mobility Sales, also known as Achieve Mobility and Savannah Mobility Sales. The new van showrooms are located in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina, bringing the total number of consumer locations to 61 across 22 states. We will now be able to help individuals and businesses in the major metro areas of Tallahassee FL, Savannah GA, Charlotte NC, Columbia SC, and Greenville SC.
We want to welcome the Carolina Mobility staff to the MobilityWorks family and we look forward to serving many more people throughout the Southeast region of the country.
For clients of Carolina Mobility, we invite you and your family to stop by our local showroom as we transition the Achieve Mobility locations to MobilityWorks. Please feel free to contact us here if you have any questions or concerns about your vehicle, recent purchase or planned purchase. You can also contact us at 855-364-0121 to schedule a free needs analysis with a Certified Mobility Consultant.
MobilityWorks’ Beltsville location was proud to present wheelchair vans to John, a triple amputee and Purple Heart Recipient, and Andrew, a quadriplegic single father. The double wheelchair van presentation came together thanks to nonprofits Help our Military Heroes [HOMH] and the Semper Fi Fund, as well as Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist Tammy Phipps and a generous area veteran. John and Andrew received their keys to freedom with help from Certified Mobility Consultant Sherry and the rest of the Beltsville team.
Army Veteran John Works with Help Our Military Heroes
Army Master Sergeant John Masson received his second accessible vehicle thanks to Help Our Military Heroes and the Semper Fi Fund. In 2010 John stepped on an IED and lost an arm and both of his legs. His training allowed him to help his fellow Medical Sergeant treat the wounds, saving his life. John earned a Purple Heart for his heroism. John, a North Carolina resident, was planning to trade in his previous wheelchair van to help him acquire a newer one. Andrew, a local quadriplegic, planned to purchase John’s previous van.
Marine Veteran Tim Surprises Andrew
In 2005, Andrew Yelicie was the victim of a gunshot wound when he was 21 years old. Andrew worked hard in rehabilitation for several years, but he wanted to focus on becoming independent so he could raise his now 14-year-old daughter as a single father. Andrew attended George Mason University and recently graduated with a degree in Accounting. His wheelchair van had been in an accident several weeks before and caught on fire as he drove. Luckily, Andrew was able to get out, but he no longer had reliable transportation.
Marine Staff Sergeant Tim Brown, another triple amputee veteran who received assistance from Help our Military Heroes, read Andrew’s story and decided to help. Tim has had a successful recovery and is able to use prosthetics, so he now drives an SUV. He had a 2011 BraunAbility Toyota Sienna minivan that he no longer needed. After seeing Andrew’s story, Tim decided to pay it forward and give the young father his accessible van for free.
Andrew thought he was coming into the Beltsville location to see if John’s previous van would work. Instead, he was surprised when Tim said he would give Andrew his Toyota minivan for free.
John and Tim Get their Wheelchair Vans
Fox 5 DC joined MobilityWorks to witness the double wheelchair van presentation.
“Everyone is over the moon with their vans,” Certified Mobility Consultant Sherry said. “Andrew received his van, which needs a few small repairs, for free. The van donation will provide Andrew with the ability to look for a job. He just received his degree in accounting and will use the van to go on interviews. John travels often with his wife and kids, so he needed a newer van.”
Sherry was proud to help John and Andrew regain their independence.
“I would personally like to thank Tammy for allowing me to be part of such an awesome group of people,” Sherry said. “I’d also like to thank the employees of MobilityWorks who pitched in to make the presentation happen. Congratulations to Andrew and John! We will see you on the road.”
For decades, Edward has had a deep passion for dancing. He is a member of West Virginia University Swing Dance and he often joins his local Morgantown square and contra dance group. Edward is able to travel and stay dancing thanks to his BraunAbility Dodge Grand Caravan wheelchair van. Certified Mobility Consultant Clint and the rest of the Pittsburgh team helped Edward regain his independence so he could get out and dance.
Edward Starts to Wheelchair Dance
“I was born in 1970 with spinal-sacral agenesis, which means that the base of my spine did not form while I was growing in the womb,” Edward said. “I have always needed some kind of mobility device. First it was crutches and then in the mid-80s I got into wheelchair sports so I began using a wheelchair daily.”
Edward didn’t let his disability stop him from staying active and taking up wheelchair dancing.
“The first time I got the courage to ask a lady to dance was at a Valentine’s Dance sponsored by the Wright State University chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ, in 1994,” Edward said. “The lady was my friend Becky and the song we danced to was “Unchain” by the Christian rock band White Heart. In 1997 I got my first taste of square dancing when I got together with a bunch of people from an e-mail prayer list I was on, at a list member’s home in Youngstown, Ohio. We had the square dance in the attic. The following year, I joined Catholic Alumni Club of Pittsburgh which had square dances twice a year. I started going to those, and basically figured out for myself how to adapt the moves to my wheelchair, while dancing with able-bodied partners.”
“The instructors have been very helpful over the last two years, working with me to figure out ways to adapt swing dancing for my wheelchair,” Edward said.
As a longtime wheelchair dancer, Edward has some great advice for others looking to participate.
“The first word of encouragement I would give to any would-be wheelchair dance is: if you enjoy moving to the music and can keep time, you are already a dancer,” Edward said. “Beyond that I would check with local dance clubs to see if they have an instructor willing to teach you. The American DanceWheels Foundation based out of the Philadelphia area is an organization that can provide support and resources. I recently found out they offer lessons via Skype for those individuals who don’t have an ADF instructor nearby.”
Edward is very active in his local dancing community. To stay independent, he knew he needed a wheelchair accessible vehicle.
Edward Enjoys Mobility Independence
“I learned to drive with hand controls and got my first driver’s license shortly after my 17th birthday,” Edward said. “At first I drove my parents’ full size Dodge van with a wheelchair lift. In 1992, I bought my first car, a used Ford Tempo coupe, and had hand controls installed. My next three cars were also coupes. I had a pretty good procedure of disassembling my wheelchair and putting it in the back seat of my car. But as I got older, my mom noticed that it was getting more difficult for me to do that procedure. On Memorial Day weeks in 2013 and 2014, on trips to Memphis and Texas, I had the opportunity to rent wheelchair adapted minivans. I found these much easier to work with than a standard rental car. So I began to think seriously about purchasing an adapted minivan.”
Edward knew about MobilityWorks from previous research when he was looking for hand controls.
“When it came time for me to upgrade to an adapted van, MobilityWorks was the first place I visited to start the process.”
The vans Edward previously rented were Dodge Grand Caravans and he liked those. His uncle, who is now retired, worked for Chrysler his entire career.
“For those two reasons, I was pretty much dead set on getting a Grand Caravan,” Edward said.
“When Ed first visited to discuss buying a vehicle, he arrived in a 2007 Chevy Cobalt coupe equipped with hand controls,” Clint said. “For years since purchasing his car, he had been transferring from his manual chair which he was loading and unloading by hand. As he got older, he was having a little more difficulty managing the chair while maintaining his shoulder strength and integrity.”
“When I made my first visit in January 2015, Clint at the Pittsburgh office urged me to seek third-party funding, which I did through West Virginia Rehabilitation Services,” Edward said. “Once I went through all the evaluations and approvals from WVRS, Clint and I emailed frequently to make sure the process kept moving. It was almost nine months from my first visit in January when I picked up the van on the first Friday in October. My minivan is white and I am a fan of The Lord of the Rings. I nicknamed my van ‘Shadowfax’ after Gandalf’s white horse!”
Clint helped Edward choose the right van to fit Edward’s needs.
“Edward purchased a used low-mileage 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan equipped with a new BraunAbility Entervan conversion,” Clint said. “We added customizations that personalized it for him. This wheelchair van fits Edward’s needs because he has adequate body strength and range of motion in his arms to self-propel his manual chair up the ramp to enter the van. He then completes a transfer inside the van using a powered transfer seat in the driver position. This seat comes to him so he doesn’t have to try to get to the seat. He uses the hand controls we installed and off he goes.”
Edward’s van has allowed him to keep dancing and even travel for his passion.
“I have traveled to two weekend swing dance workshops since I got the van,” Edward said. “I was in State College, Pennsylvania in October and went to Pittsburgh in January. I plan to travel to the DC Lindy Exchange in Washington, D.C. in April for a full weekend of swing dancing.”
If Edward ever needs additional mobility support, he knows MobilityWorks will be there.
“It is always a great feeling to help restore someone’s independence,” Clint said. “I enjoyed working with Edward and established a great relationship with him.”