Sales: 1-877-275-4907 Service: 1-877-275-4912Rentals: 1-877-275-4915

MobilityWorks Acquires Sunset Mobility of Miami Florida

Handicap Vans in Miami-Dade

Accessible Van Sales and Rentals Now Provided by MobilityWorks in the “Cruise Capital of the World”

On Tuesday, April 21, MobilityWorks announced the acquisition of Sunset Mobility located in Miami, Florida. In business since 1995, Sunset Mobility has been a strong advocate for people with disabilities in the Southern Florida region. They are also a long-time BraunAbility certified retailer and National Mobility Equipment Dealer Association (NMEDA) Quality Assurance Program (QAP) dealer.

“We care deeply about our clients and are very excited about joining the great people at MobilityWorks and providing that same level of care in the years ahead,” said David Ferguson, president and owner of Sunset Mobility.

Sunset is also a valuable asset to world travelers needing wheelchair van rentals for their vacation plans. Miami is a significant travel destination due to its being the number one cruise passenger port in the world. Similar to MobilityWorks, Sunset Mobility was a participant in the Accessible Vans of America (AVA) dealer rental program.

“Sunset has done a wonderful job of serving the disabled community in South Florida for 20 years.  We look forward to continuing that tradition under the MobilityWorks umbrella,” said Bill Koeblitz, MobilityWorks President/CEO.

The new MobilityWorks of Miami location is at 8415 SW 129th Terrace, Kendall, FL 33156. Showroom hours are from 8AM to 5PM M-F, with Saturdays by appointment only.

Call 1-877-275-4907 to schedule an appointment with a Certified Mobility Consultant.

March is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month—Wear Green on March 25th to Show Your Support

The month of March is designated as National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month is committed to raising awareness of the disorder as well as the ongoing research efforts being done to find new treatments and hopefully a cure.

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a condition caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain. CP usually occurs either during fetal development, before, during or shortly after birth, or during infancy. CP affects a person’s muscle tone, movement and motor skills. Many people with CP also have other developmental disabilities including; epilepsy, autism, blindness, hearing and/or speech issues. Recent statistics indicate that there are approximately 500,000 people in the US affected by CP.

On March 25th, people are being asked to either wear green or wear a green CP awareness ribbon to commemorate “Paint the World Green for Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day”. For more information, please visit “Paint the World Green for Cerebral Palsy Awareness” on Facebook.

 

Stem Cell Therapy and Immune Markers: Key Advancements in the Research and Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

When nerves have barren patches without myelin, they can no longer properly conduct electrical signals… the therapy involves the harvesting of stem cells from bone marrow.

Over 400,000 Americans are affected by Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a degenerative neurological disease that causes an erosion of the insulating fat (myelin) that surrounds nerves. When someone is affected by the disease, it is because white blood cells (T lymphocytes) have crossed the usually impermeable blood-brain barrier, and have eaten away at the myelin, leading to barren patches.

When nerves have barren patches without myelin, they can no longer properly conduct electrical signals; leading to neurological issues and physical symptoms including numbness, loss of balance, tingling, weakness in the extremities and/or a general lack of physical coordination.

Stem Cell Therapy

Some patients with MS are trying new, aggressive therapies, including stem cell therapy treatment. The pioneer of the stem cell therapy treatment is Dr. Saud A. Sadiq of the Tisch MS Research Center of New York. While still in its early stages, the therapy involves the harvesting of stem cells from patients’ bone marrow. The stem cells are then transformed in a laboratory into “neural progenitors”. The neural progenitors are then injected into the patient’s spinal fluid. The intent is that the neural progenitors could eventually lead to the repair of the myelin sheaths in the brain.

Stem cell therapy treatment is just one part of a broader push to understand the neurological disorders that affect the structure of the brain. As the baby boomer generation ages, more and more people within that age group may become affected by disorders such as MS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

A commitment has been made by the White House to allocate $100 million in federal research funds for initiatives geared at understanding the brain. In addition, organizations such as the Ann Romney (wife of Mitt Romney) Center for Neurologic Diseases are also working towards understanding the brain and its neurological disorders, in an effort to find treatments, and ultimately cures.

Pinpointing an Immune Marker: The Next Frontier

Many doctors and researchers have questioned that if MS is an immune disease, then there should be something known as an immune marker. For this reason, finding a biomarker that could be identified through a blood test would represent one of the next major frontiers in MS research. Potential biomarkers that could signal the presence of MS have already been identified in some studies. In addition, it has been discovered that MS patients have an elevated level of a protein called serpin A3 in their tears—another possible clue to early detection.

While previous breakthroughs have found ways to slow the progress of MS and perhaps lessen the severity of symptoms, the breakthrough that everyone most wants to find is the one that may heal the brain, not just seal it off from future attacks.

Reversing the Damage Through Cell Stimulation

Dr. Ari J. Green of the University of California at San Francisco, is a researcher working to find a way to heal the brain. His mission isn’t just to stop the disease, but to also reverse it by finding a way to stimulate cells called oligodendrocytes, which make myelin, to repair the nerves stripped by MS. Instead of injecting stem cells like in Dr. Sadiq’s therapy, Dr. Green is trying to strengthen the body to do the repairs itself.

While research and testing continue, there are factors/symptoms that people should be aware of.

Risk Factors

Research has shown that while MS does not have a high rate of inheritability, there is a genetic component rooted principally in a family of immune genes called the major histocompatibility complex. Other risk factors are environment, including a lack of Vitamin D, and smoking.

Be Aware of the Early Symptoms

Many people feel numbness in their arm or leg or a tingling in their spine and simply dismiss it as a pinched nerve. Or, they may feel off-balance or fatigued, and think they are just coming down with something. Early intervention could have a very significant effect in shaping the outcome of MS treatment, so alerting your physician to these conditions and/or being tested is critical. Often, by the time a person seeks out a physician and is diagnosed, a significant amount of damage may have already been done to their brain.

For more information on multiple sclerosis, check out the Newsweek article; On the Hunt for a Multiple Sclerosis Cure.

SmartFloor™ for Commercial Vans Offers Custom Flexibility for Wheelchair Transport Vehicles

Revolutionary flooring product offered by MobilityWorks now available for Ram ProMaster and Ford Transit commercial van platforms.

SmartFloor™ seating inside a Ram ProMaster van. The vehicle has a BraunAbility Century lift installed in the back.

Whenever someone sees the Transit Works SmartFloor™ product for the first time and begins to grasp the benefits of being able to quickly rearrange the seating, or remove them altogether, there’s always an ‘aha’ moment.

Inside most of the newer MobilityWorks commercial fleet vehicles, the SmartFloor that’s being installed will provide its new owner/operator with more flexibility than they’ve ever had before. That flexibility will result in operational savings and better service to the customer.

Here’s how:

Instead of having all of the seating permanently bolted to the floor, a transportation company or fleet owner now has the option to quickly rearrange the interior layout and re-purpose the vehicle for a different function in literally a matter of minutes.

In the case of a wheelchair transportation provider (such as an assisted living center), there may only be a few occasions every week where they need to have two wheelchair positions available, while the remaining passengers typically being transported need bench seating. If given notice that a second wheelchair passenger is being picked up, they can easily remove the necessary bench seats and re-install them when the trip is completed. This reduces the number of total trips being made. For the wheelchair community, that means better service because providers will be able to quickly adapt to changing needs.

With this type of flexibility, the SmartFloor installed on the Ram ProMaster or the Ford Transit really is a smart decision. The SmartFloor is a patented product available exclusively in North America from Transit-Works and its certified bus, OEM and mobility dealers across America.

For more information on the SmarFloor for Commercial Vans, call Transit Works at 1-855-337-9543.

Microcars for Wheelchairs: Then and Now

Harold Downey’s wheelchair micro-car could reach top speeds of 45 mph.

The Need and Desire for Independence is the Mother of All Mobility Inventions

Most of us have seen the latest Mercedes-Benz ‘Smart Car’ on the road these past few years, but did you know that a wheelchair microcar was invented back in the 1950s? Along with entrepreneurs like Ralph Braun, the founder of today’s BraunAbility minivan conversions, people were simply looking for ways to be independent with whatever means they could. Vans for wheelchair drivers simply weren’t available.

Back in October of 1956, Harold Young of Downey California was featured in a Modern Mechanix magazine article with his three wheel, 10HP wheelchair accessible microcar that he drove on city streets for many years. The hand controls he installed were a push-stop, pull-to-go lever design, similar to the mechanical driving aids being used today. Hooks attached the dashboard were used to secure the wheelchair in place.

Fast Forward to 2015…

The all-electric Kenguru is designed for local community driving with a top speed of 25 mph.

The Kenguru shown above is a Hungarian designed, electric powered micro-vehicle with a top speed of 25 mph. It can travel around 60 miles per day, but is not legal on roads above 35, depending on local restrictions. For practicality purposes, it appears to have more of a golf-cart application, perhaps for getting around in senior living communities, than for actual road use. It has a motorcycle-like handlebar steering design with a throttle for acceleration.

The Kenguru has been reported to be coming to the United States by the efforts of former attorney, now entrepreneur, Stacy Zoern of Austin, TX. Stacey was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and has been in a wheelchair her entire life. She formed a company call Community Cars based in Texas to manufacture and distribute the vehicles. When it becomes available, the single-passenger wheelchair microcar will cost somewhere around $20-$25k. Community Cars is also designing a model that will be controlled by a joystick or small-diameter steering wheel for those with limited upper body strength. for more information, go to Kenguru.com

Spreekt u Nederlands? (do you speak Dutch?)

The Canta has a top speed of 28 mph.

The “Ride-in Canta” (Inrij Canta) shown above is a wheelchair microcar from the Netherlands developed in 1995 by Waaijenberg, a company that specializes in a variety of smaller vehicles (for disabled and able-bodied customers). Equipped with a rear-entry ramp, the Canta pneumatically raises up off the ground when the engine is started and the driver is ready to move . It comes with a Honda 5-stroke, 160cc engine (200cc optional) and has a top speed of 28 mph. Canta hand controls can be placed on the left or right side, depending on the need.

In the Netherlands, the Canta is legal to be used be used on cycle paths and sidewalks as a mobility aid. A driver’s license is not required. There are no known plans to bring the Canta to the United States.

Editors note: Modern Mechanix magazine’s last published issue was their March/April edition in 2001.