Florida County Seeks More Beach-Accessible Wheelchairs

Posted by on Jul 18, 2014 in Disability News | 0 comments

Wheel-Chair-BeachWhen you live in Florida, the beach is a big part of the culture. Even people with disabilities who require special wheelchairs to access the beach take part in the laid-back lifestyle of sun and sand.

However, in Volusia County, a sprawling area with nearly 500,000 residents in east-central Florida, the number of beach-accessible wheelchairs has diminished in recent years and advocacy groups are struggling to get more.

At one time the county had dozens of beach wheelchairs but now it has only two which means many wheelchair-bound kids and adults are limited in how far they can go when it comes to their day at the beach. The man who made the beach-accessible wheelchairs for the county was Beach Safety Captain, Jay McDonough who unfortunately suffered a fatal heart attack in 2011.

Since his passing, the county has fallen behind in ordering more wheelchairs and the many it had have since broken down. The beach-accessible wheelchairs feature larger balloon tires that enable the chair to move easily over soft sand, something a standard wheelchair can’t do. While the beaches in Volusia County have plenty of wheelchair-accessible ramps, the sand is proving to be the main problem.

“We found that the soft sand, given the wind, blows right up on the ramp,” Michael Porter, Vice President of the Handicapped Adults of Volusia County told News-13. “So halfway down the ramp, you’re in a foot of sand and you haven’t gotten to the bottom of the ramp yet”.

Porter has gone before the Volusia County Council asking for increased access to the beach for people with disabilities, as well as asking for more beach wheel chairs.

Parents of disabled children have looked into purchasing beach-accessible wheelchairs but the average cost for these special chairs is $1,600. For most the cost is way too high for a wheelchair that will only be used occasionally.

Hopefully the county will work out this issue so everyone can enjoy the beach!

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New Brooklyn Park Caters to Disabled Children

Posted by on Jul 10, 2014 in Disability News | 0 comments

Borough ParkThey say everyone has a place in New York, and now with a new park opening behind PS 192 on 18th Avenue and 48th Street in Brooklyn, children with disabilities will have just as much fun as able-bodied kids. Two lawmakers, Councilman David Greenfield and state Sen. Simcha Felder were instrumental in the construction of the new park that includes amenities for children in wheelchairs such as ramps, ground level play features, accessible swings, wheelchair-accessible tables and wheelchair-accessible drinking fountains.

Greenfield told the Brooklyn Eagle, “I’m so proud that have literally turned a wasteland into a beautiful new park in our community. We all need open space to enjoy some fresh air, exercise and play with our kids and grandkids.”

Under an initiative that began under the Bloomberg Administration, communities are actively seeking how to convert unused schoolyards into public parks. Both Greenfield and Felder gave generously to the new Borough Park and were adamant that the construction include wheelchair-accessible features.

The park now boasts a large running track, tennis court, basketball hoops, two new turf fields, a tot lot, an area for 5 to 12 year-olds, maps and games painted on the asphalt as well as more than 25 newly planted trees and numerous benches.

The Brooklyn Eagle quoted Felder as saying, “For many years the standard joke was that Borough Park didn’t have any parks. The opening of this park has long been eagerly awaited by the entire community”.

And when he says entire community, he means it. The wheelchair-accessible features are being hailed by the disabled community as a major step forward in including their needs when planning and designing civic projects. Students at PS 192 will use the park during school hours, and the public will have access to it after school and on weekends and holidays.

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Wheelchair Participants Allowed in 4th of July Race

Posted by on Jul 3, 2014 in Disability News | 0 comments

TwinsAt first it seemed that Jack and Nolan Willis would not be able to participate in the Cazenovia July 4th Foot Race. The annual race that kicks off 4th of July celebrations near Syracuse University in upstate New York is overseen by the Syracuse Chargers Track Club who originally deemed the twin Willis boys a safety concern.

Jack and Nolan were born with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and can only move about with the aid of a wheelchair. The mother of the 12-year-old twins, Allison Willis, eventually got hold of Cazenovia Mayor Kurt Wheeler to help plead her case in allowing the boys to participate. Her case was helped by a group called Team 2 Smiles, runners who volunteer to push people in wheelchairs.

After some negotiations, the Syracuse Chargers Track Club agreed to let the boys in the 10-mile road race, though the start times for the boys would probably be altered. The race officially starts at 8:45 a.m. and organizers are hoping the twins can begin at 8:30 a.m. to avoid any safety concerns with other runners.

“I’m extremely grateful that the Chargers have reconsidered their position, and Team 2 Smiles is excited to race in the morning,” Allison told Syracuse.com.

The boys will be pushed in jogging strollers by a team of experienced runners. When the announcement was made that the boys could not participate, the community of Cazenovia rallied to Allison’s side and several runners even threatened to boycott the race if the twins were not allowed to participate.

“Everyone told me they support me, and they’ve offered to do anything they could to help,” Allison told Syracuse.com.

Mayor Wheeler was able to intervene and worked closely with the Chargers to reverse their decision. It also helped that the story was picked up by major news outlets including the Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Runner’s World magazine had also contacted Allison Willis about doing a story.

HDS MEDALLION® salutes the Willis family for not giving up and wishes them the best of luck in the race.

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Calling Foul at the World Cup

Posted by on Jun 26, 2014 in Disability News | 0 comments



Awhile back we blogged about families that would pay disabled children so they could cut the long lines at Disney World. Now, with tickets getting scarce the World Cup in Brazil it appears some desperate fans have resorted to ticket fraud and wheelchairs to gain admittance to the most watched sporting event in the world.

According to police in Brazil, fans are being investigated for allegedly buying tickets on the black market (scalping) and tried to cover their tracks by accessing the stadiums in wheelchairs. What tipped the police off was a group of Brazil fans who attended the host team’s opener on June 12th. When Brazil scored their first goal of the tournament is was more than magic, it appeared to be a miracle since several of the wheelchair bound fans leapt out of their chairs and cheered.

The Daily Telegraph in the UK is reporting that fans feigning handicaps to gain access to World Cup matches is not new and that disabled fans have been willing to sell their tickets at the right price.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, National Public Radio’s Shanghai Correspondent Frank Langfitt is reporting that online stores in China are selling fake doctor’s notes to World Cup fans so they may be excused from work to watch their team on match day.

The World Cup is a hot ticket and it appears nothing is off-limits when it comes to soccer-mad fans.

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Our Kind of Town, Chicago Is

Posted by on Jun 19, 2014 in Abilities Expo | 0 comments

ChicagoFirst off we’d like to say Happy Summer to all our fans. It was a brutal winter up north this season and we are definitely looking forward to some sunshine and warm weather.

We also want to let everyone know about our new Pinterest account http://www.pinterest.com/wheelchairbags/ that is slowly but surely being developed. We are very excited about the new changes to Pinterest and feel this will be a great platform to showcase our beautiful carryall bags for mobility devices. Please follow us!

Next week is the Abilities Expo in Chicago and we are excited to be heading to the great Midwest capital for this fantastic trade show and event.

Admission is free and the show will be held at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center:

Fri. June 27: 11AM – 5PM

Sat. June 28: 11AM – 5PM

Sun. June 29: 11AM – 4PM

If you live in the area, we will be exhibiting all our colorful and stylish wheelchair bags at booth 811. The exhibit also features helpful workshops, dance expos, information on the latest disability technology and assistive animals that will melt your heart.

Come out and enjoy the fun!

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The Tankchair is Taking over the Great Outdoors

Posted by on Jun 13, 2014 in Disability News | 0 comments

TankChairWhen U.S. Marine Corporal Joshua Hoffman was paralyzed while serving in Iraq, he thought his days of adventure were over. A former wrestler who loved muscle cars, Hoffman rarely had downtime but after a militant shot him in the neck with a sniper bullet, Hoffman was soon relegated to a wheelchair that left him depressed and suffering from a grueling rehabilitation that took a tremendous physical and psychological toll.

However, one night Hoffman was at an American Legion fireworks show and a fellow member asked if he had ever heard about this crazy new wheelchair that had tank treads, could climb stairs and ford a stream. The news was like a ray of light and Hoffman quickly sought out Brad Soden, the inventor of the Tankchair.

This awesome machine can handle rugged hillsides, sandy beaches, snow covered roads and, with a top speed approaching 30 miles per hour, keep pace with a typical car on a city street. The electronics of the Tankchair are built by the same company that manufactures the Apache helicopter control systems so it’s no wonder this machine is more tank than chair. Some version of the Tankchair have mounts for guns, fishing reels and even a pulsing LED light that can induce nausea in onlookers.

Tankchair LLC is a family company run out of a small industrial garage in North Phoenix. The company sells, repairs and services roughly 200 Tankchairs throughout the world on an annual basis. Each Tankchair is customized to the unique needs of the buyer

The Tankchair Hoffman bought was hand-delivered by Soden and is controlled by a head array and has a ventilator on the back. It also came equipped with a Samsung Galaxy tablet and Bluetooth speaker. After six years of being unable to speak, Hoffman made his first phone call. He surprised an old U.S. Navy buddy and uttered, “Kiss my butt”.

Thanks to Soden, Hoffman and hundreds of other wounded vets and other disabled people are finding life again through the amazing capabilities of the Tankchair.

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A Great Testimonial

Posted by on Jun 6, 2014 in Wheelchair Bags | 0 comments

Ruths Sister Rehab2We love to share with our fans great testimonials about our products. Here’s one from a woman who recently had surgery for a new hip.

Sharon A. is an active, always on the go individual who rarely sits still and likes to get the most out of each day. From gardening to walking her beloved dog, Griffin, to playing golf — she looks forward to getting back into the swing of things with her new hip. But she has to use a walker for a while.  Her sister made sure she had a great HDS MEDALLION® Designer CarryAll Bag to use as long as she needed it.  Here’s Sharon’s take on her bag.

“Who would have thought that at age 54 I would be getting a new hip? The idea of using a walker was quite daunting, and I was so worried it would be totally awkward and frustrating.  I can’t say enough about how organized and independent I felt once I started using my HDS MEDALLION® Carry All Bag. I was given the bag as a gift and started to use it immediately. Not only was I feeling stylish, but it had plenty of room to carry my cell phone, Ipad, notepad, H20 bottle and a few personal things.  The ease with which you can remove it and take with you anywhere is an added bonus.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone and I will continue to use it even after my recovery.”

We’re glad Sharon found the bag so helpful and demonstrates that a premier bag is very versatile in that it works on a walker and then becomes a shoulder bag when necessary or after rehab is completed.

Thanks Sharon and good luck and health!

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