In 1996 Jesse Billauer was one of the top 100 junior surfers in the world, and just weeks away from turning professional. Then in an instant, he was thrown from a wave head first into a shallow sandbar. The impact broke his 6th vertebrae. It has been Jesse’s mission ever since to help others living with paralysis to chase their dreams.
In 2002 he started the Life Rolls on Foundation to help improve the quality of life for young people affected by spinal cord injury. They host events all over North America teaching children adaptive surfing and skateboarding. After a summer of events from coast to coast, they will host their 13th annual “Night by the Ocean” fundraiser in Santa Monica, CA.
At the turn of the century, Sam Schmidt was regarded as one of the rising stars in the IndyCar series. On January 6, 2000, Sam was involved in a wreck that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Ever since that day it has been Sam’s mission to get back behind the wheel!
With help from BraunAbility and Arrow Electronics, Sam was provided with a semi-autonomous Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray that he is able to drive with slight head movements. He was able to drive this car around a racetrack at over 150 mph!
BraunAbility is the largest accessible vehicle manufacturer in the world, and here at MobilityWorks we are honored to work with such a great company. This past month they partnered with Canine Companions for Independence to form their “Give a Dog a Job” campaign, to help provide people living with physical disabilities access to highly trained assistance dogs.
Canine Companions was the first organization dedicated to training assistance dogs, and today they are still the largest. Every dog that graduates from their program spends 6 to 9 months in training learning 40 commands. These include everything from turning on lights and opening doors to pulling manual wheelchairs.
Archer Hadley was born prematurely at just 26 weeks old, and after spending the first few months of his life in the ICU, he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Now, 20 years later, Archer is making a huge impact on his community and the accessibility of our country.
The idea for his challenge was sparked one day in high school when without his normal aide, Archer found himself stranded in the rain trying to open a door for almost ten minutes. The purpose of his challenge was to raise funds for electric doors at his high school. Students, parents and faculty were encouraged to “challenge” someone to spend an entire day in a wheelchair for a $20 donation.
The Los Angeles based organization, Infinite Flow, is America’s first professional wheelchair ballroom dance company. Earlier this week the nonprofit organization released a video combining two of the most popular recent internet sensations. It begins with a “mannequin challenge” that transforms into a “flash mob” or choreographed dance. The video was directed and created by Infinite Flow’s founder Marisa Hamamoto. She founded the organization last year with the goal of increasing access to quality dance instruction in an inclusive environment. They have already performed at over 40 events and offer weekly dance classes.