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April is National Limb Loss Awareness Month – 500 Limbs Lost Per Day

Limb loss can happen to young children as well as adults
Limb loss due to medical conditions or accidents affect people of all ages. This young lady was at a Shriner's Hospital for rehabilitation with her prosthetic legs.

It’s estimated that more than 500 Americans lose a limb each day. More than two million Americans are currently living with a limb loss. Amazing statistics that many of us are shocked to hear. Perhaps it’s because prosthetic limbs have come such a long way that it can be hard to tell whether some is missing a limb or not. People with limb loss are around us every day, more than we realize, living full and active lives. I even know of a few police officers who have only one leg, marines who were injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. And they can outrun most any bad guy in a chase! Many of our clients using wheelchair vans and/or hand controls use a prosthetic.

The Amputee Coalition is at the heart of a movement to educate the public about limb loss, especially in April, when they celebrate National Limb Loss Awareness Month. Their mission: to bring awareness about the risk factors and preventative steps that people can take to avoid losing limbs.

There are many causes of limb loss, such as auto accidents or construction injuries. Professional surfer Bethany Hamilton lost her arm to a shark! But many amputations that occur in the USA are preventable, due to medical conditions such as diabetes and peripheral vascular disease. The Amputee Coalition website has an informative listing they call “25 Ways to Avoid Limb Loss” with brief description identifying each. Go to their Limb Loss link here.

In addition to awareness, the Amputee Coalition offers scholarship programs, a marketplace for products, community forums for people with different interests and much more. They also have a comprehensive online library of resources, articles and publications called the National Limb Loss Information Center (NLLIC). You to also make donations online to help their cause. Go to  learn more about this terrific organization.

National Mobility Awareness Month in May Includes 3 New Wheelchair Vans Going to Essay Contest Winners

NMEDA National Mobility Awareness Month
Three vans will be given away in May as part of the National Mobility Awareness Month campaign.

First Ever National Mobility Awareness Month Coming in May – Local Hero Nominees Being Sought for Van Giveaways 

MobilityWorks is proud to announce its participation in the first ever National Mobility Awareness Month this coming May. And as part of the celebration, the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association and its partners are giving away three wheelchair accessible vans to local hero essay contest winners.  Mobility dealers, groups and organizations are encouraged to nominate deserving individuals by submitting a 1 to 3-minute video and 400 word essay and photos about the nominee. They will be accepting nomination starting March 18th all the way up to May 13th. However, the sooner you get the nominations in the better because visitors to the website will have a chance to vote for their favorites. Voting will begin April 1st and ends May 13th.

What is a local hero? They can be anyone in your community including persons with disabilities, a caregiver, veteran or anyone who has helped others to overcome their mobility challenges. If you have someone that you are nominating, please let us know so that we can help to “get out the vote” for a particular hero. 

The winners of the three wheelchair vans will be announced by NMEDA toward the end of May on national television. We look forward to bringing more awareness to the general public and with creating a buzz about the many different options that people now have to live  productive lives with the help of our vans, scooter lifts and driving aid products. Additional information and nominee submission links can be found at

New “Push Girls” Reality Show Features Four Hollywood Friends in Wheelchairs

Producers of the hit series “Little People, Big World” are working on a new reality show featuring four women in wheelchairs. Sexy, compelling, inspiring and ambitious are just a few of the words being used to describe the show. Aptly named Push Girls, it is scheduled to debut in April on the Sundance channel. The 14-episode, ½ hour series is being marketed as both a documentary and drama reality show. The cast includes Auti Angel, Mia Schaikewitz, Angela Rockwood and Tiphany Adams, all beautiful women of different backgrounds (now all close friends) who live with paralysis in the Hollywood area.

Push Girls reality show
“The common denominator with us is our wheelchairs... but it's not about the wheelchair. It's about our spirit, and how we just live life to the fullest.” — Angela Rockwood

The show documents the everyday challenges each women face, both physically and mentally. According to Sundance press, relationships are not off-limits — as details about the girls dating, able-bodied boyfriends and a failed marriage will also be shared with the world.

The Push Girls Cast

Auti Angel was in a severe auto accident in 1992 that resulted in a spinal cord injury. She was a dancer before being paralyzed and has since continued her passion for dancing. In 2003 she became one of the founding members of the Colours ‘n Motion Dance Crew (aka Team Colours*), known for their many appearances at Abilities Expos and other disability awareness event around the country.

Mia Schaikewitz is a former competitive swimmer who suffered a rare brain hemorrhage as a 15 year old teenager. She went on to graduate from the University of Florida before moving out to California. Mia joined Auti Angel as a Colours’ in Motion dancer in 2008. Mia is now 32 years old.

Angela Rockwood was an aspiring actress and engaged to actor Dustin Nguyen (21 Jump Street) when she was involved in a tragic car accident that left her a quadriplegic. She has continued her acting career and is now an ambassador for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. You may recognize Angela from her role in the 2001 hit movie The Fast and the Furious.

Tiphany Adams was a senior in high school when she and her friends were hit by a drunk driver. She was the lone survivor, but not until after the EMT’s had already declared her dead at the scene. Requiring a significant amount of work to stop internal bleeding and to rebuild her shattered bones, she is truly a miracle. She has been a voice against drunk driving, including an appearance on the Dr. Phil show. Tiphany was also featured on the cover of New Mobility Magazine in December 2010. Tiphany wrote on her web site the following: “I feel it is my God given purpose to become the story told that after tragedy lies hope and promise of brighter days.”

Whatever your feelings about the show and any unwarranted comparisons to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (on Wheels), one thing is clear: these are confident, spirited women who overcame their physical challenges and live life to the fullest. Long before the show was conceived, they were role models to countless young women who also found themselves in a wheelchair wondering whether life can still be meaningful. The Push Girls answer is yes. MobilityWorks wishes them and the show the very best.

Before they were stars... 'Push Girls' Mia Schaikewitz (center) and Auti Angel (right) on the Conquest Motorcycle.

*sponsored by Colours Wheelchair. Photo courtesy of The Sundance Channel

MobilityWorks to Host Mobility Expo and Vendor Fairs in Pittsburgh and Chicago

Mobility Expo
Last year's Mobility Expo in Pittsburgh, PA.

The MobilityWorks team is busy with preparations for hosting two Mobility Expos and Vendor Fairs this coming October.

Our three Chicago IL area stores are teaming up with industry suppliers and local advocacy groups to host their 1st Annual Mobility Expo at the MobilityWorks Villa Park location on October 6th from 11AM to 7PM.

The MobilityWorks of Pittsburgh team in Wall, PA (near Monroeville) is hosting their 5th Annual Mobility Expo event on Thursday, October 13th, also being held from 11-7PM.

The Pittsburgh location hosts the largest gathering of mobility vendors and disability-related organizations in Western Pennsylvania. This year’s expo will have a “Doo Wop of the 50s” theme, with invited guests encouraged to wear 50’s era costumes. Pittsburgh area musicians Chuck Blasko and The Vogues will play live doo wop music throughout the day. The event is well-known for its great food, fun, prizes, informative guests and the opportunity to socialize with old friends. Said Lance Alexander, General Manager at MobilityWorks, “The most fulfilling thing for me is hearing clients and friends talk about coming back again next year. They don’t want to miss it.”

Mobility Expos are a fun way to meet with other people in wheelchairs
Guests can learn about any type of mobility product or discuss disability issues with knowledgeable consultants.

More than 350 people are expected to attend in Pittsburgh along with 24 vendors and groups. Representatives will be on hand to answer questions about handicap vans, mobility issues, adaptive equipment, handicap driver education programs and home modifications.

The Chicago Mobility Expo will feature a full day’s lineup of speakers covering many different topics of interest:

Spinal Cord Injury of Illinois – Mercedes Raven – Tips for making life easier for caregivers and persons with disabilities

Rehab institute of Chicago- Life Center – Kristine Cichowski – Expanding your social network: strategies for developing an active lifestyle

Life’s Plan Inc, Pooled Trust – Scott Nixon – Special Needs Financial Planning

Jewish Child and Family Services  – Brenda Nemeth – Planning for the future for a family member with a disability

Cure MS Foundation – Kim Albin – Providing direct assistance for those with MS 

Law Elder Law – Rick Niksic – The elder Journey: who pays for what as you grow older and need assistance?

Laurus Foundation – Jim Dolan – Living with Traumatic Brain Injury

Marianjoy Rehabilitation Center: Driving Instruction – Anne Hegberg – Driving Evaluation

Barking Angels – Jack Giambrone – A look into service dogs

Paralyzed Veteran of America – Winston Woodard – VA Benefits, What you may be entitled to.

Pittsburgh Expo vendors/exhibitors include:

Aardvark Adaptive Modifications

Adaptive Driving Program/Center for Assistive Technology

B&D Independence


Brant’s Driving School

BraunAbility – co-sponsoring the appearance of The Vogues

Bruno independent Living Aid

Carnegie Library

Costa Law Offices

Freedom Mobility

Go Shichi

Home Evolutions

Keystone PVA

MobilityWorks – Host, organizer and co-sponsoring the appearance of The Vogues

Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Dept. of Labor


Rezk Medical

Three Rivers Center for Independent Living (TRCIL)



Variety the Children’s Charity

Viewpoint Vision

VMI Vantage Mobility International – once again sponsoring the catering for the event!

Westmoreland County Disabilities Task Force

Redefining ‘Going Mobile’ – A 40 Year Retrospect

Wireless Providers Cloud the Use of ‘Mobility’ 

Pete Townshend and The WhoForty years ago this coming August, The Who came out with their ‘Who’s Next’ album featuring one of their all-time greatest hits ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’. Also on the album was another chart-topping favorite ‘Going Mobile’ written by Pete Townshend. His lyrics were about the ability to keep moving and living free. To go where you want to go, when you want to go:

I can pull up by the curb, I can make it on the road… goin’ mobile.
I can stop in any street, invitin’ people that we’d meet… goin’ mobile. Keep me moving!
Out in the woods or in the city, It’s all the same to me
When I’m drivin’ free the world’s my home… going mobile.

Pete Townshend and The WhoLittle did Townshend know back in 1971 the importance (and impact) the word ‘mobile’ would have on the world with the invention of the cellular phone and other ‘mobile devices’. A 70’s era Webster’s dictionary simply stated that mobile meant:  ‘capable of moving or being moved’. There was no mention of technology. The closest thing to a mobile device back then was a walkie-talkie two-way radio tranceiver, mostly used by the military.

Motorola Dyna-TacIt wasn’t until 1973 that the first prototype mobile phone was introduced (known as the Motorola Dyna-Tac). Today, pocket-size gadgets that can communicate across the globe have redefined its primary usage in the English language.

In the last two decades, the wireless technology industry has pretty much taken over the word mobile. By the time today’s child becomes an adult they will have heard the term ‘mobile’ thousands of times over – having little to do with one’s physical abilities. Its Latin origin ‘mobilis’ meant movable, but I doubt the early Greeks were thinking about smart phones and i-pads. Word meanings however can and do evolve. So they can use mobile, cell, cellular, apps, i-this, i-that and wireless infinitum. No problem. What is a little more troublesome is that they’ve also started to commandeer the word ‘mobility’.  Researching the etymology of mobility (vs. mobile), it is generally referred to as a condition of one’s movement and the ability to physically move.

Examples of this wordsmith takeover include Motorola changing its name to Motorola Mobility, Inc. (now trading on the NYSE as MMI).  Bell Cellular, a division of Bell Canada, changed its name to Bell Mobility. AT&T now offers ‘enterprise mobility services’ to help manage your business. That would be fine for a business with hundreds of wheelchairs and scooters.

The encroachment of ‘mobility’ by the wireless mega-corporations has providers of true mobility products and disability-related websites sharing space with them on the Internet. With billions of ad dollars spent each year by the ‘phone’ guys, Internet searches for ‘physical mobility’ issues and products can get a strange mix of irrelevant blurred results. And that’s not good for the disabled community. Mobility should be reserved for use in helping an individual to keep moving. A phone service provider shouldn’t be calling you to upgrade your mobility plan, as an example.

On the other hand, how long will it be before scooters have built-in Bluetooth devices?

So Pete — here’s to you and the anniversary of Going Mobile. If you were writing the song today, the lyrics may have been much different.

Note: Townshend recently provided the initial funding for a non-profit hearing advocacy group called H.E.A.R. He now suffers from severe hearing loss due to his extensive exposure to loud music over three decades of live concerts.