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Canine Partners for Life and MobilityWorks Team Up: Help Us Name a Puppy

Photo from Canine Partners for Life https://www.facebook.com/CaninePartnersforLife

For over 25 years Canine Partners for Life has been dedicated to training service dogs to assist individuals all over the country. MobilityWorks General Manager Jerald Ochsner has worked with their organization for years, and with a new group of puppies arriving soon they have asked for our help to pick a name!

Canine Partners for Life owns a 45-acre property in Cochranville, PA that houses a state-of-the-art training facility. They have placed over 650 service and companion dogs in homes where they help bring independence and a better quality of life to their owners. The total cost to raise, train, place and provide lifetime support for a service dog can be incredibly expensive. As a non-profit organization, Canine Partners for Life only asks that a fraction of this cost be donated by recipients of their service dogs.

In addition to traditional service dogs that help people with physical limitations, Canine Partners for Life also trains seizure and cardiac alert dogs that can warn their owner if they are in danger. They are one of the few organizations worldwide that train seizure alert dogs. The majority of the service dogs they train are Labrador retrievers, but they sometimes work with golden retrievers, poodles and labradoodles.  Poodles are a popular breed of service dog because they are hypo-allergenic.  

At any given time, Canine Partners for Life has 50 to 60 puppies being raised by volunteers. Caregivers raise the puppy for 8-10 months and are responsible for providing basic obedience training and exposure to public environments. Around the time of the puppies 1st birthday they return back to the training facility where they perfect their obedience skills and start to learn the very specialized tasks they will be required to perform.

One very important step to begin this training process is picking the service dog’s name. Canine Partners for Life has asked Mobilityworks for assistance in this process.  The employees at MobilityWorks have narrowed it down to 5 names and now we need your help by voting for your favorite name below.
Voting ends October 25th.

Mary’s Magical Place

Photo from Mary’s Magical Place: https://www.facebook.com/Marys-Magical-Place-819307848185951/

Mary Elizabeth McAuley was a very special young woman who touched the lives of many in the town of Hendersonville, Tennessee. People all over the Northeast suburb of Nashville knew Mary for her radiant smile and positive attitude that was so strong, it was practically contagious. Due to complications at birth, Mary was born with cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Unfortunately, Mary passed away in 2015, but in honor of her memory her family is raising funds to construct a state-of-the-art inclusive playground where all of Mary’s friends can play.

Mary’s parents Tommy and Rachel have been very creative when it comes to fundraising by hosting several events and working with local businesses. They have partnered with Middle Tennessee Audiology, who is donating $5 from every hearing test towards the playground. In addition, the family has organized a half-marathon, started a memorial brick drive and have secured sponsorship from several local companies. One of their biggest contributions for the playground came from winning the USA Today’s “A Community Thrives” grant contest. The $50,000 award helped put Mary’s Magical Place fundraising above their initial goal.

The playground will feature several wheelchair accessible pieces of equipment including a swing that doesn’t require children to transfer from their manual or power wheelchair, a roundabout style “Ability Whril” and a “Sway Fun Glider”. Other thoughtful inclusive features at Mary’s Magical Place include a musical instrument display, sign language mural, braille boards and sensory items for children with autism.

The city of Hendersonville has already set aside several acres of land in Veterans Park for the inclusive playground and has agreed to keep up with maintenance after construction is completed. The city will bid out the project later this year and hope to have the playground completed by May of 2018.

If you are interested in learning more about Mary’s Magical Place and keeping up-to-date with their progress please visit www.marysmagicalplace.org They are also still accepting memorial brick donations starting at $125.

Top 10 Wheelchair Halloween Costumes

For the past several years, we have noticed there have been some incredibly creative costumes that have been designed and constructed by people using wheelchairs. We have seen everything from scary to silly, and some that are absolutely stunning! With a few weeks left before Halloween, we decided to put
together a list of our ten favorite costumes from past years, and we look forward to seeing what everyone dreams up later this month.

Mini Bulldozer Bobcat – Not only is this idea creative, but look at all the room he has for carrying candy!

DJ Booth – You are definitely going to be the life of the party if you come dressed as a DJ

Anything Star Wars – There are plenty of options for Star Wars fanatics from R2D2 to any of the space ships

Game of Thrones – We expect to see several “Iron Thrones” this year inspired by the popular HBO series and top-selling fiction series

Drummer – This could be a great cheap costume, or you could really go over the top

Cinderella’s Carriage – The perfect costume for your princess

Back to The Future – The Delorean will always be a cool costume

Wheel of Fortune – Here is a good costume if you’re looking to put something together last minute

UFO – A great idea if you are looking for something a little scary

Hot Air Balloon –This was made from burlap, rope, a beach ball, and lots of glue and tape

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.

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