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United States Shines at 2017 Invictus Games

Photo from Invictus Games: https://www.facebook.com/invictuslondon/

On Saturday evening, the 3rd annual Invictus Games held their closing ceremony, and several members of the United States team will be returning home from Toronto as champions. The week long event gained worldwide media attention thanks to appearances from current First Lady Melania Trump and former President Barrack Obama. 90 participants from the United States competed in both individual and team events, with many of them bringing back medals!

One of the most impressive performances at the Invictus Games came from United States Marine Corp Veteran and mother Sarah Rudder, who won five gold medals! Rudder won four medals in track and field events, and added a fifth gold with a team win in the one-minute rowing competition. She also won a silver medal in the four minute rowing contest, and a bronze medal as a member of the sitting volleyball team.

For the United State’s men, several individuals won multiple medals. Josh Lindstorm took gold and silver in archery events, and also won a bronze medal as part of the US golf team. Nathaniel Hamilton picked up a gold and silver medal in swimming events, while Brant Ireland earned a bronze and silver medal in cycling.

The final medal of the weekend was at stake when the United States wheelchair basketball team took on the Netherlands. The United States cruised past Denmark in the semi-finals with a 42-17 victory, but met a very determined and talented Netherlands team in the final. In front of a packed gymnasium, the United States was able to secure a 55-51 victory and yet another gold medal!

The 2018 Invictus Games are scheduled to take place in Sydney, Australia from October 20-27. Next year, ABC will broadcast several events and the ceremonies of the 2018 Invictus Games nationally. Don’t miss a moment!

Congratulations to all of the athletes who competed in this years events, and a special thanks to the organizers and volunteers who made the games possible!

MobilityWorks in Santa Clara Hosts Local ALS Chapter

Do you remember in the summer of 2015 when the “Ice Bucket Challenge” took the internet by storm? Since that time, the viral videos have helped raise over $100 million for ALS research! Earlier this month MobilityWorks located in Santa Clara, CA hosted the ALS Golden West chapter for their open house, and on a crisp day in the Bay they brought back the popular challenge. MobilityWorks General Manager Steve Riffle and his team created the event to help boost their fundraising efforts as they will be participating in the Silicon Valley Walk to Defeat ALS on October 8th.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also commonly referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”, was first discovered in 1869. The ALS Association estimates there are over 20,000 Americans living with the disease at any given time. For over 30 years their organization has been raising awareness and funding research with the hope of ultimately finding a cure for ALS.

On September 19th, the Golden West ALS chapter showed up at MobilityWorks in the afternoon with plenty of ice cold buckets of water and cameras were rolling. In the past, it was tradition to nominate three other participants to either take the ice bucket challenge or donate, but Steve went above and beyond. He nominated several friends, family members and co-workers to participate. You can watch the video on the Walk to Defeat ALS – Golden West Chapter Facebook page.

Steve Riffle and his team have currently raised of $1,500 towards their goal of reaching $5,000 before the walk next month. The Silicon Valley Walk has a total goal of raising $210,000 and with a few weeks to go, they are almost half way there. Click here if you are in the Bay area and interested in participating in the walk or visit the MobilityWorks team page to learn more or donate to their cause.

MobilityWorks is Proud to Support Operation Injured Soldiers

Photo from Operation Injured Soldiers: https://www.facebook.com/operationinjuredsoldiers

Founded in 2005, Operation Injured Soldiers is a nonprofit organization in Michigan that provides recreation opportunities to wounded veterans. Their mission is to thank heroes for their sacrifices and help get them back into sports and hobbies they enjoyed prior to deployment. Last month, the group took their annual Muskie fishing trip and a few members from MobilityWorks tagged along for the excursion.

MobilityWorks Chief Financial Officer and avid fisherman Gerhard Schmidt first got involved with Operation Injured Soldier five years ago. Their shared passions for the outdoors and helping America’s veterans made for the perfect partnership. Schmidt attended the annual fishing trip for years, but this time he was unable to attend. However, fellow MobilityWorks employees, Brett Meals and Alex Kyger, were happy to fill in!

Gerhard Schmidt said “It has been an honor watching this event grow into what it has become knowing that it provides wonderful benefits to our Veterans. What could be better than spending a day with the heroes of our country fishing?” The annual trip has grown to include over 30 boats (several of them wheelchair accessible) and 100 participants. All of the proceeds for the event go to the Brave Hearts Estate, an over 200-acre farm that was donated to Operation Injured Soldiers. Throughout the year, they host several events at the farm, and the lodge there also offers free lodging to Veterans and their families.

On September 18th, the group set sail on Lake St Clair just East of Detroit. Alex and Brett were paired with two retired Veterans and their boat had a very successful day. They caught 7 Muskies in total with three of them coming in at over 40 inches! The evening concluded with a dinner at the Grosse Point Yacht Club. It was a great day of fishing, and most importantly the event raised over $100,000 towards helping America’s heroes.

Follow them on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/operationinjuredsoldiers

2017 Invictus Games Officially Begin

Photo from Invictus London 2014 : https://www.facebook.com/invictuslondon/

In 2014 Prince Harry of Wales set out to make a difference for injured soldiers returning from war, and created the Invictus Games. He started the international sporting event to inspire recovery, help support rehabilitation and to raise awareness and respect for those who serve their country. The Paralympic-style multi-sport event features adaptive games such as wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball and indoor rowing. The first Invictus Games took place in March of 2014 at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, England. This year they are being hosted in Toronto, Canada and the opening weekend was a great success!

On Saturday evening spectators filled Toronto’s Air Canada Center to welcome the 550 competitors from 17 nations. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Prince Harry both gave moving speeches at the opening ceremony. In 2008 Prince Harry, who at the time was third in line for the British throne, was deployed to Afghanistan. On his return flight home, the coffin of a soldier was brought onto his flight, and it was at this time he knew that he needed to use his platform to help honor those returning from war.

In his speech on Saturday Prince Harry thanked all of the participants for their service, and stated “Some of you have cheated death and come back stronger than before. You are all winners. You are proving to the world anything is possible.” Canada’s popular Prime Minister was greeted with a roaring welcome and went on to give moving speech of his own. Trudeau talked about how everyone should consider what they can do to make a difference, and support the men and women who have sacrificed so much.

The games will continue through September, 30th and will conclude that evening with a closing ceremony. To view the complete schedule of events, watch live streaming matches or to learn more about the Invictus Games please visit www.invictusgames2017.com

Check out the video below from Retired US Air Force and Invictus Games competitor Patrick Roberts, as he talks about the importance of the event:

National Spinal Cord Awareness Month Has Continued Success

In 2015, the United States Congress unanimously voted to approve September as National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness month. Over the past two years, with the help of generous donations from the public, The United Spinal Association has been able to further their mission by expanding available resources, like monthly webinars and peer support groups,  to the over 275,000 Americans living with spinal cord injuries. It is estimated that there are approximately 17,500 new cases of spinal cord injury (SCI) in the United States every year, with almost 40% of these injuries coming from vehicle crashes. Since 1946 the United Spinal Association has been dedicated to providing individuals living with spinal cord injuries and their families with support, valuable information and resources.

If you or a loved one are interested in joining the United Spinal Association, it is free and easy to join from their website. All members receive access to their network of resources along with the New Mobility monthly magazine membership. They also offer a team of trained consultants to answer any questions or concerns. Another great resource that’s available on their website is the collection of monthly webinars. These webinars typically occur bi-monthly and cover topics ranging from healthcare and personal fitness to helping gain employment. Throughout the course of 2016, the United Spinal Association focused on improving three areas in particular: influence, impact and innovation.

In terms of influence, they helped work with the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to secure the passage of a bipartisan bill that will help reform VA leadership and maintain a healthy workforce. For impact, the United Spinal Association expanded their peer mentoring program to now include 300 trained mentors. For anyone interested in starting a peer support group in your area, the United Spinal Association bi-annually awards $500 grants. An application for the grant is available on their website displayed below. Finally, for innovation, system enhancements have allowed their Spinal Cord Resource Center to increase cases handled by 25%.

For more information on National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month please visit www.unitedspinal.org