To all our valued customers: HDS Medallion is happy to announce that we’re about to go live with our new and improved website. We hope that our new site will be cleaner, clearer, and offer a better shopping experience to all. We’re very excited and we hope you are too.
Here are some quick housekeeping notes we’d like to touch on:
- The move to the new site is scheduled to be official on the morning of November 19, but the process may take a day or so. We’d like to ask for your patience during the move, especially if we run into a hiccup or two. Be sure to check back at hdsmedallion.myshopify.com over the next few days to see how things are going.
- Our new HDS Medallion homepage has links to Holiday coupons for Christmas and Hanukkah and we hope everyone gets the chance to use them for someone they love!
- The new site has some features that we hope our customers will find helpful. Will Our Bags Work on Your Device? is an easy-to-follow information page that will help customers determine if our bags are compatible with their mobility devices. Lookbook is a fun feature that will let you take a look at our bags in various categories (colors, patterns, accessories, and more).
- We’re also offering some completely new bags, including the Demi Paisley Pink and Demi Paisley Blue, Black Suede Scroll, Jet Polka Dots with Pink, Red or Turquoise.
We’re so happy to be turning the page to this new chapter in HDS Medallion’s history, and we’re glad that all you are here along with us. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch. Thanks!
Magic Wheelchair is a nonprofit organization founded by Ryan and Lana Weimer that transforms children’s wheelchairs into costumes that would make any trick-or-treater envious. The Weimers’ goal is to put a smile on the face of every child who uses a wheelchair. They create unforgettable Halloween costumes for kids at no charge to their families.
Three of the Weimers’ five children were born with a form of Muscular Dystrophy called Spinal Muscular Atrophy and will need to use wheelchairs throughout their entire lives. The Weimers’ first child, Keaton, was diagnosed with SMA when he was nine months old.
In 2008, Ryan asked Keaton what he wanted to be for Halloween. Keaton said he wanted to be a pirate, and Ryan decided to design a pirate ship around Keaton’s wheelchair so he could “sail” around the neighborhood trick-or-treating. Keaton was thrilled, and he even made the front page of the local newspaper. Making custom Halloween costumes turned into an annual family tradition.
The Weimers created Magic Wheelchair to provide Halloween costumes for other children with disabilities. The wheelchair costumes have been so successful that they have been featured in newspapers and on television. The Weimers have raised money to create more Halloween costumes through a very successful Kickstarter fundraising campaign.
Magic Wheelchair wants to be able to create awesome Halloween wheelchairs for any child who wants one. Children choose their costumes, and Magic Wheelchair showcases each child’s uniqueness and individuality.
Children, with their parents’ permission, submit a one- to three-minute video telling what they want to be for Halloween and why they believe they should be selected for the Magic Wheelchair Build. The Weimers and their team of volunteers review the submissions and choose five children to receive wheelchair costumes. They then work with designers and builders to customize the wheelchairs for Halloween.
Magic Wheelchair is a wonderful organization that has made Halloween a magical holiday for many children in need. By creating unique costumes for children who use wheelchairs, the Weimers have allowed children to have fun with their friends and families and to enjoy one of the best parts of being a child.Read More
Jen Spickenagel Kroll, whose daughter has a disability, posted the ad to Facebook and praised the retailer. She wrote, “Including children with special needs into advertising makes them less of a spectacle to the general public when they venture out into the real world. Normalizing disabilities in children is PRICELESS.” Since she posted her comment, advocacy groups, parents of children with disabilities, and other members of the public have praised Target on Twitter.
Her daughter, Jerrensia, is almost 6. Kroll traveled to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and met her in an orphanage near the capital, Port-au-Prince. The closest medical diagnosis for her condition is Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita. Her hip sockets never developed properly, her knees were locked at 90-degree angles, her feet were clubbed, and most of her leg muscles did not develop. Her legs were amputated two years ago.
Jerrensia now wears prosthetic legs and walks with arm crutches. She enjoys kindergarten, ballet, gymnastics, baseball, and downhill skiing. She is also a fan of Disney princesses, including Elsa.
Jerrensia was thrilled when her brothers showed her the Target ad. She has had negative experiences with people pointing and staring at her because of her disability. Kroll hopes the Target ad and others like it will expose more people to kids with special needs and help them see beyond their disabilities.
Target said it tries hard to include all of its guests in advertising. The company has been praised before for inclusive advertising. An ad in 2012 included a child with Down Syndrome, and in August the company revamped its plus-size clothing line and announced that it would no longer designate children’s items for specific genders.
We are proud of Target for including children with disabilities in their advertising and for helping to combat the discrimination that kids with special needs sometimes experience. We hope that this ad and others like it will help people see beyond disabilities and celebrate the abilities of special needs children.Read More
According to a new federal report from the Office of Personnel Management, employment of people with disabilities by the U.S. government is at its highest level ever. OPM reported that at the close of the 2014 fiscal year, the government had more employees with disabilities and that those individuals made up a larger share of the workforce than at any other time since records began to be kept 34 years ago.
The annual report to President Barack Obama on disability hiring said that federal offices hired 20,615 people with disabilities last year. That brought the total number of employees with disabilities to 247,608. Of that group, 1,424 new employees had targeted disabilities. That category includes intellectual disabilities, epilepsy, deafness, blindness, paralysis, missing extremities, dwarfism, and psychiatric disabilities.
The federal government is the United States’ largest employer. Obama issued an executive order in 2010 that pledged to increase the number of federal employees with disabilities by 100,000 within five years. In the four years after the executive order was issued, 72,000 full-time employees with disabilities were added to the federal workforce, according to OPM.
Beth Cobert, acting director of OPM, wrote in her report to Obama that the federal government is a model employer for people with disabilities. OPM is also working with federal agencies to make sure that employees with disabilities receive the training, mentoring, and reasonable accommodations they need to do their jobs.
This report shows that the United States is heading in the right direction in terms of hiring workers with disabilities. The federal government has recognized that people with disabilities have much to offer and can do their jobs as well as non-disabled workers. We hope that the federal government will continue to make progress and that the private sector will also hire more employees with disabilities.Read More
We always learn from our customers when they come to visit us at trade shows and tell us how their bags are working for them. We wanted to share some of the lessons we have learned from our customers that can help you get the most out of your own bag and avoid problems.
Bag Hangs Too Low:
A few people have told us that their bags were damaged by the tires on a power wheelchair. It turned out that the straps were extended too long and the bag was hanging too low. Here are some pointers on how to hang and secure a bag at an optimum height:
• Watch our video on how to hang a bag on a power chair or wheelchair at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLbMn4G-GE8
• Remember that the straps are highly adjustable. Simply pull the slide up or down the strap to lengthen or shorten it.
• If the straps are at their shortest and the bag still hangs too low, there are a couple things you can do:
1. Lengthen the strap to wrap it around the armrest twice. Adjust it so the bag is as high as necessary and the contents are accessible.
2. Hook it around something other than the armrest if possible. Many power chairs have vertical bars between the armrest and the rest of the chair or behind the armrest. You can wrap one or both of the straps around a bar and then over the armrest. You can make the bag hang evenly with the straps at different lengths depending on where they attach. This also provides better security since the bag cannot slide off of the armrest
• Our Premier, Demi-Premier, and Metro bags have six D-rings inside. Normally you would use the four center ones to hang the bag over an armrest, but it might be better to use the end D-rings, especially if you attach one strap to a vertical bar behind the armrest. This also makes the opening of the bag larger.
• Experiment with different strap configurations. For example, you can extend one of the straps to the longest and secure it to one D-ring at the front or end and then wrap it along the armrest several times and hook it to a back D-ring or the other end. Another option is to connect two straps with each other (press one snap hook into the other strap’s snap hook), wrap the longer strap around the armrest, and snake it up to the other end of the bag. Make sure the hardware is not on the armrest to avoid chafing your arm.
• Have a seamstress cut the straps and re-sew the hardware on the new shorter straps so each fits perfectly. This is not expensive and tailors the bag to your chair. If you are a sewer, you can do it yourself. This is one customer’s smart idea!
Some people talked about the bag sliding off the armrest or being vulnerable on the back of a wheelchair. Here are some things you can try:
• Hook the strap around the vertical bar between the armrest and the rest of the chair or behind the armrest. Since each strap can be used differently, take advantage of the bar(s) by wrapping one or both straps around a bar and over the armrest. Since the straps are adjustable, you can make the bag hang evenly with the straps at different lengths.
• If your chair has small vertical bars under the armrest, make sure one strap is inside the bar to make the bag secure.
• If you are hanging the bag on the back of your wheelchair, there are several ways to make it more secure:
1. Wrap the straps around the handles a couple of times, especially on the side of the handles next to the back of the chair.
2. Hook one or both straps to a vertical bar if one is available on one or both sides of the back of the chair.
3. Lengthen the straps and then wrap them twice around the handles. Hook the open ends of the straps to each other in the middle.
Putting a Bag on the Front of a Manual Wheelchair:
If it is easier for you or a loved one to bend over to the front of the chair than to reach to get a bag off the back, you might be able to put your bag under the seat, depending on the type of device you have.
• You need to have at least a tube/bar on each side of the underside to do this. Each chair is different. Have someone play with different configurations of straps on D-rings and lengths of straps to find a way that works.
• Make sure the bag doesn’t drag on or near the ground. Demi-Premiers work best in that respect. The bag has to be where you can reach items in the bottom.
Putting too much stuff in a bag can cause it to get damaged. If the bag is on the side of a chair and sticks out, it can be damaged going through a door. If it gets caught on door hardware, the bag can be ripped apart.
Overstuffing a bag can also cause it to become worn out over time and make the D-rings lift or break. If multiple D-rings lift, the bag is overfilled. This is not a manufacturer’s defect. If a D-ring lifts, you can still use the bag, but you run the risk of losing the D-ring. If a D-ring ribbon lifts in the first 90 days of bag ownership, contact us to alert us to your return, return the bag, and we will repair it for you.
The vast majority of the bags we saw at our shows were working and in amazing condition one to three years after purchase. Not surprisingly, that tickles us and makes us proud!
Our thanks to everyone we met at the tradeshows and expos. We appreciate your support and the lessons learned!Read More
October has been designated as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This is a time to celebrate the many contributions of American employees with disabilities in workplaces across the country.
The theme for this year is “My Disability Is One Part of Who I Am.” The theme is intended to convey the message that people with disabilities have many aspects to their lives, including their disabilities and work experiences, and that their disabilities do not define them.
NDEAM is intended to raise awareness about issues related to disability in employment and to celebrate the contributions of past and present American workers with disabilities. Employers and co-workers should look at everything that workers with disabilities can contribute.
The Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has also created a “Who I Am” television public service announcement that is currently airing nationwide. It features a diverse group of nine people with disabilities, some of which are obvious and some of which are not. They share some of the many ways they describe themselves and their lives.
NDEAM began in 1945 when Congress declared the first week in October “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was removed to include people with all types of disabilities. The campaign was expanded to a month in 1988, and its name was changed to National Disability Employment Awareness Month. ODEP was given responsibility for NDEAM when it was created in 2001.
We encourage employers across the country to recognize the contributions of workers with disabilities this month and throughout the year. People with all types of disabilities work in a wide array of occupations and prove that it is possible to overcome challenges and succeed in the workplace. We support people with disabilities and salute employers who hire them.Read More
We at HDS Medallion® have been busy for the past several months traveling and exhibiting at trade shows across the country. We were at Abilities Expos in New York, Houston, Chicago, and Boston and three Little People of America events promoting our bags, reconnecting with old friends, and making new ones.
We cannot begin to describe how refreshing and rewarding it is to see customers come back to visit our booth at these events, whether they are coming to buy a new bag or not. We love the opportunity to catch up, find out if they have had any issues related to their bags, and ask what they would like to see in the future. Previous customers are always the best marketers and spokespeople for us at our booth and driving around at the Expos. We love to see people who are returning or are visiting us for the first time to enter our drawings, to purchase a new bag, or just to see what’s new.
We always welcome feedback from our customers. Since they use our bags on a daily basis, their experiences are valuable to us. Plus we always learn from them since they can demonstrate different ways to attach our bags to their mobility devices and give us ideas for future bags. For example, a plain black bag that is coming soon was designed in response to requests from customers, men as well as women.
At these shows, we also renewed our acquaintance with some wonderful exhibitors who sell great products for people who use wheelchairs, walkers, power chairs and scooters. We are building a resource page on our website to highlight them for our customers and followers. We have also done “shout-outs” on Twitter and Facebook. By the way, if you haven’t followed us or visited our Facebook page in the past year, you may have been automatically dropped. Please visit us and like us again. We would appreciate it.
HDS Medallion would like to thank all of our customers for using our bags and for visiting us at trade shows to let us know how our products have helped them and how we can make them even better. Recently we sat down and identified the “lessons learned” from our customers. We’ll start sharing these lessons in our next blog on a wide range of subjects like securing a bag. Don’t miss it!
We always welcome feedback from our customers and encourage you to visit our booth if you attend an Abilities Expo or Little People of America event in the future. In the meantime send us your thoughts, reactions, or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hdsmedallion.Read More