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MDA Ambassador Program

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Starting in the early 1950’s, when public awareness and understanding of muscular dystrophy was almost non-existent, the Muscular Dystrophy Association created their National Goodwill Ambassador program. Since that time, over 40 individuals have helped bring attention to the fight against muscular dystrophy by sharing their stories of inspiration and hope. Joe Akmakjian is the current ambassador, and throughout 2017 he has worked to raise awareness for muscular dystrophy.

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Veteran Resource Organizations: Paralyzed Veterans of America and Disabled Veterans of America

As two of the leading organizations dedicated to helping veterans across the country, the Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Disabled American Veterans organization impact the lives of our nation’s heroes on a daily basis.

Founded in 1946 through a congressional charter, the Paralyzed Veterans of America advocate for higher quality healthcare, research and education for spinal cord injuries and maximizing benefits for their members. One of their largest projects is their “Mission: ABLE” campaign which focuses on providing our most injured heroes the care and access to resources they have earned and deserve. This includes receiving benefits and health care as well as access to job training and career opportunities.

The PAVE (Paving Access for Veterans Employment) program helps paralyzed veterans find employment through the PVA. This unique, no cost program offers assistance with job placement, and with the generous support of private and public partnerships, they strive to place at least one client every day. As a part of the program they offer services such as resume proofing, help with interviewing, connecting members with potential employers and identifying resources and educational opportunities.

Another essential resource for veterans with disabilities is the Disabled American Veterans organization. The DAV was founded in 1920, with the mission of “fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served”. With almost 1,300 chapters and nearly 1.3 million members across the United States, the DAV is able to meet with veterans and provide care and resources at a local level. They also have a “Mobile Service Office” program that travels across the country meeting with veterans and their families. Members of the DAV have access to money saving benefits including Ford vehicle reimbursements, savings on cell phone plans through T-Mobile and North American moving discounts.

To learn more about the PVA and find local events please visit their website at The DAV website features an extensive list of local events including conferences, 5k runs and job fairs for veterans. Visit to learn more or find out how to become a member.

Prepare Your Accessible Van for Winter

While it is still almost officially a month away, this is the time to prepare for winter. Make sure that you and your wheelchair accessible van are ready for the frigid weather and dangerous driving conditions ahead.

There are several steps you should take to make sure that your van is ready to make it through the most treacherous driving season.

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A Year as Ms. Wheelchair America – Eliza McIntosh Stauffer

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A little over a year ago Eliza McIntosh was crowned Ms. Wheelchair America 2017. Since that time, she has gotten married, visited 21 states and two countries to advocate on behalf of the wheelchair community, and will be graduating this spring with a degree in Political Science from the University of Utah!

Eliza was surprised when her name was announced as winner of Ms. Wheelchair America 2017, because she knew there were so many other deserving contestants. As the second youngest winner since the pageant was founded, she ran into a challenge by winning. She was still enrolled at college and due to her scholarships restrictions had to remain in school. Fortunately, The University of Utah deemed Eliza’s new role as an internship so she was able to remain a student.

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