Recycling MobilityApr 22, 2014
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Earth Day 2014 is here and the world is abuzz with ideas how to keep the world greener for generations to come. I’m here to to throw out an idea that you probably won’t here anywhere else: recycling mobility. Now what exactly do I mean by this? Allow me to explain with a real-world example or two.

About nine years ago, a close family friend was injured on the job. He was a lime spreader and spent his days operating large machinery in farm fields and rock quarries. His job was very strenuous, and one day an accident injured his back. He had surgery and was thankfully not severely harmed. He was left wheelchair-bound for three months during the recovery time. I remember how his family built ramps across the house for him.

He made a full recovery as planned and had his wheelchair left. The family contacted hospitals and the VA and made the wheelchair a donation to a VA hospital nearby. That same chair was given to a patient free of charge as a gift.wheelchair_recycling

That is what I mean by recycling mobility. Sure, he could have received a wheelchair some other way, but this is much more true to the spirit of Earth Day and ability. It kept a wheelchair out of a landfill, which is good and green, but it more aligns with the hidden spirit of Earth Day: it took care of the resources available for someone else. A precious thing was saved so others could have it.

Nova Scotia has a wheelchair recycling program that works similarly to this. It exists to make sure any child who needs a wheelchair will have one that is the right size for him.

Here at BraunAbility, we hear and see many awesome stories pertaining to all things mobility, and a few mirror this situation. People donating wheelchairs and even up to mobility vehicles themselves! To check out a few such stories, follow these links to other blog posts on the site with the scoop:

Veteran Receives Wheelchair Van Donation

News Story Inspires Accessible Van Donation

Wheelchair Lift Donated to Theft Victim

Saving the earth is an important thing to do and we all need to pitch in, but what other resources can you save and recycle for the future? Mobility is one, but maybe you have something else too. Every little bit goes to help make a more green future in the lives of everyone.


Submitted by: Micah / Ability Voice Blogger
Category: Uncategorized
Published: Apr 22, 2014
BraunAbility Introduces Certified Pre-OwnedApr 14, 2014
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We are happy to announce a brand new initiative to get you out on the road and living a mobile life: BraunAbility Certified Pre-Owned vehicles! With BraunAbility CPO, peace of mind comes standard. BraunAbility Certified Pre-Owned is a new way to buy a quality mobility vehicle, and to know that it is as good as you deserve it to be, while saving money off of the new list price.Side Entry Conversion

Each BraunAbility CPO unit undergoes our rigorous 416-point vehicle inspection, meaning you get the confidence and 3-year/36K warranty benefits of a brand new mobility vehicle with the cost-saving value of a pre-owned vehicle. Each vehicle is subject to rigorous rules that guarantee the quality represented by the Certified Pre-Owned name.

A BraunAbility CPO unit comes standard with:

  • Comprehensive warranty
  • 416-pt Inspection
  • Roadside Assistance
  • Rental Vehicle Assistance
  • Much more!

Every BraunAbility CPO vehicle undergoes a rigorous 416-point inspection administered at the BraunAbility factory or at your dealership by trained ASE-Certified technicians. We ensure that everything from the drivetrain to the windshield wipers is in good working order or it is reconditioned to our exacting standards. Your warranty works on the road as well! Should you need it, stop by any BraunAbility dealer for repairs, even if it is 1,000 miles from the one you purchased it from.

Every BraunAbility Certified Pre-Owned vehicle includes assistance for a rental vehicle of up to $50/day. Ask your dealer for details.

24 hour road-side assistance applies to BraunAbility Certified Pre-Owned vehicles as well, so you are never without the full support of the BraunAbility team.

A new affordable price for the same great quality, stop by your BraunAbility dealership and ask about your BraunAbility Certified Pre-Owned vehicle.


Submitted by: Micah / Ability Voice Blogger
Category: News / Announcements
Published: Apr 14, 2014
Personal Mobility Starts With YouApr 09, 2014
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For several years now, we have published a helpful pamphlet entitled “On the Move – A Guide to Your Personal Mobility.” This information is intended for those who may be experiencing mobility issues for the first time. Chair Toppers, Companion Vans, Wheelchair lifts and ramps, it is a daunting world full of options, choices, and your well-being.Screen shot 2013-04-10 at 2.25.59 PM

But the most important aspect is that word, “YOUR”. Personal mobility is what we are all about here at BraunAbility, but no matter how many pamphlets we put out, the core of it all is you and your personal mobility. Whether you’ve suffered an accident or are recovering from a medical condition, the result is the same: there are suddenly limits on where you can go, what you can do, who you can visit. As you face these new challenges, it may seem easier at times to skip engagements and make excuses.

The solution to your mobility needs does exist. Even if things never become the same as they were, there is always a way to retain day-to-day function. But it all starts with you. No matter how hard it gets, no matter how many options there are to sift through, and calls need to be made, this is your moment. Certified mobility consultants, assisted driving instructors, and many more experts are available to help you and answer your questions, but you need to pick up the phone.

I apologize for the curt speech, I do not want to offend or scare anyone, but I see it as tough love. In my two years in the field of mobility, I have seen far too many cases of people not taking the first steps for their own personal mobility. Sadly, it tends to result in prolonged inaction that drags their life down to being waited on by caregivers.

Personal mobility starts with you. We are here to help every step of the way, after you take the first one.


Submitted by: Micah / Ability Voice Blogger
Category: Uncategorized
Published: Apr 09, 2014
Enter the 3rd Annual Local Heroes ContestMar 31, 2014
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Our good friends at the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA), a partner of BraunAbility, are hosting another spectacular event. May is National Mobility Awareness month, and nobody celebrates it like NMEDA does with their Local Heroes contest. The Local Heroes contest seeks to recognize people who make a difference in their community, even if they happen to be in a wheelchair. The winners of the contest receives a mobility vehicle to help them reach out and build the communities that they serve!

Abigail receiving her key on the Daily Buzz show

Abigail receiving her key during the 2013 Local Heroes Contest

NMEDA defines local heroes as individuals who volunteer, educate, advocate, achieve and persevere. They also share the following statistic: “Over 18 million people in North America are living with restrictive mobility issues. This is your chance to change the lives of just a few of those triumphing in the face of adversity.”

Stories are submitted to the contest and people from across the United States and Canada review and vote for who they think is a true local hero. BraunAbility donated two vehicles to last year’s contest, and featured the stories of the local heroes who now drive them.

The three 2013 winners

Jeff Scott’s story

Abigail Carter’s story

These are the stories of the winners of the 2013 contest. Does this sounds like you our anyone you know? NMEDA is accepting contest submissions now at the National Mobility Awareness Month website here. Submissions and voting for the contest are open now until May 9.

Go and vote, submit a story, and spread the word! Mobility awareness is a year-long activity that begins with you.

 


Submitted by: Micah / Ability Voice Blogger
Category: News / Announcements
Published: Mar 31, 2014
Wheelchair Yoga: Getting StartedMar 27, 2014
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Yoga has exploded as a means of health and wellness in the United States over the course of the last decade. Offering benefits for mind, body, and more it is really no surprise that it has seen the success it has. Despite the origin of Indian religious practice, the exercise of yoga does not require a spiritual element. It may surprise some to hear, but it does not require functioning legs as well!sidebend

Wheelchair yoga is yoga just like you’d find at your local gym, but it focuses on poses that work and stretch the body without even leaving the wheelchair. It offers the exact same benefits: stress release, greater lung capacity, improved flexibility, more muscle strength, and it helps the body prepare to relax or sleep. These poses can be done from the safety of your home as well, but having someone at home as well is recommended as a safety precaution, and always consult your physician prior to beginning a new exercise regime.

The principles of yoga do not change, so the core of each pose remains universal: sensations. It isn’t about stretching to the point of discomfort, but stretching enough to create a positive result. Not sure how to tell if this is happening? Instructors can help you with this. Most yoga instructors offer one-on-one sessions that can help you get started. Some instructors even specialize in yoga for wheelchair users!

Yoga is a great form of exercise for wheelchair users because it isn’t about lifting more weight or breaking personal distance records; it focuses on awareness. Awareness not of pain, but of your whole body. What sort of stress do you have? What does my body need? How do my movements affect my health? By practicing yoga with these mindsets, it becomes much more than doing and holding various stretches and poses, but about finding a connection between your daily life and better health.

Consider what benefits yoga could offer you and consult with your physician, it could be the next big thing for your health.

 


Submitted by: Micah / Ability Voice Blogger
Category: Wheelchair Vans
Published: Mar 27, 2014
Using Crowdfunding to Get You into a Wheelchair Van?Mar 19, 2014
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Fundraising has always been around as a source of comfort for those in need and a resource for those dealing with hard times. Over the years, however, the process of fundraising itself has evolved. Goodbye to fish fries, bake sales, and car washes – the internet has completely changed the fundraising game. If you want to get the word out, the answer is literally a click away: just power up your computer.Screen shot 2013-04-10 at 2.25.59 PM

The latest trend in fundraising-and quite a successful trend I might add- is something called crowdfunding. All over the internet sites are popping up, dedicated solely to helping those who have fallen on hard times to get their stories out. The websites each have their own variations, but all have a same basic idea of helping others. When registering on one of the websites, you create your own profile (much like you would on Facebook). You tell your story, upload pictures, and explain to your audience what exactly you need (outlining a specific monetary goal is helpful). Next to your profile is a donation button, allowing viewers to donate to your cause. We've picked our top three favorite crowdfunding sites, and want to share them with you in hopes that jumping on the crowdfunding bandwagon will help you to meet your goal!

My personal favorite crowdfunding site is GoFundMe, perhaps the easiest site to use and navigate. On GoFundMe, you have a large cover photo to showcase what you're fundraising for, and directly below your photo, a story of why you're fundraising. Beneath your photo is a large chart showing the donators how close you are to raising your goal. The thing that sets GoFundMe apart is the personalization it gives to donating. When a viewer donates to your cause, they have the option of leaving their name or remaining anonymous, and even better yet, the ability to leave a message to you or your loved ones. The donation ‘notes' are visible on the right side of the page for other viewers to see. GoFundMe also provides links to Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, and Pinterest, so viewers are able to share your story with yet another branch of the online community.

FundRazr is also a great, easy-to-use crowdfunding site. It operates in much the same way as GoFundMe; however, instead of having a giant cover photo, FundRazr allows the most eye catching part of your fundraising profile to be a video, which allows you to explain to possible donators in person just how important your cause is. I believe that this is an excellent tactic. While you are still able to compose a paragraph describing your cause, what better way to promote it than speaking about it yourself?

RocketHub is another great crowdfunding site. Like FundRazr, it uses a personalized video to help you get your message out. RocketHub, unlike the previous two, uses incentives to persuade viewers to donate. For example, donating $25 can get you a handwritten thank you note, while $50 can get you a handwritten note and some sort of gift card (getting local businesses to donate five or ten dollar gift cards would allow you to offer the incentives with no costs for you).

Hopefully reading this has made you realize that there is more to fundraising than bake sales and car washes. Crowdfunding is an effective trend that can't be ignore, and sites like GoFundMe, FundRazr, and RocketHub make it easy for you to jump on the bandwagon and put your cause out there. So give it a shot. There are millions of people on the web, let them be your audience and your support.


Submitted by: Dagny Zupin / Ability Voice Blogger
Category: Mobility Aids
Published: Mar 19, 2014
Meet "The Spanner Man"Mar 11, 2014
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Spanner is a term that many don’t hear or use in the United States. It is a British and Australian term for wrench or monkey wrench. International vernacular aside, there isn’t much that people can say about a spanner. It is a somewhat heavy metal object that comes in all shapes and sizes, and can typically be found in garages and barns country-wide. One man, however, sees them as something much more: the building blocks of art.

John Piccoli, "The Spanner Man", with his wife

John Piccoli, “The Spanner Man”, with his wife

John Piccoli of Victoria, Australia, also known as “The Spanner Man”, uses these innocuous household items to create something incredible. He uses hundreds of spanners that are no longer in use and makes them into amazing sculptures that he uses to decorate his ranch. What is more amazing is he does this all from his wheelchair.

It all began over 30 years ago when Piccoli started to make small garden objects out of spanners that he had collected. Over the years, the creations became more elaborate, and his spanner collection grew bigger and bigger. Now, his art is featured in museums and galleries across the whole of Australia.

Piccoli contracted polio as a child, and the disease left him in a wheelchair. His barn is equipped with a cross-over gantry crane and several block and tackles that allow him to get around and create his 3D sculptures. Piccoli is currently in his 70′s.

If you ever happen to be in the area of Victoria, Australia, tours of his ranch can be arranged. Much of his art is displayed in his yard.

Wrench Bench

Wrench Horse

Wrench Swordfish


Submitted by: Micah / Ability Voice Blogger
Category: Uncategorized
Published: Mar 11, 2014
MobilityWorks to host Mobility Expo in CincinnatiMar 06, 2014
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A long time friend and dealer of BraunAbility, MobilityWorks, is hosting their very own Mobility Expo next month!

The event is scheduled for Thursday, April 10th, 2014, at the MobilityWorks dealership in Cincinnati. Admission is completely free, and food, drinks, prizes, and so much more will be at the event. Over 25 local and national mobility companies will be present and hosting booths and events. Some of the sponsors coming are: Permobil, Vantage Mobility, Qstraint/Sure-lok, and BraunAbility.image001

Consultants from all branches of mobility will be on hand from 11am to 5pm to demonstrate and discuss assistive technology, accessible vehicles and home modifications. Professional representatives will also be there for questions and answers about rehabilitation, medical services, adaptive driving, veterans services and funding sources.

To keep up to date on the event, check out the official web page for the event here.

If you would like to attend, registration for the event is available on the main page of the event listed above.

MobilityWorks is a national chain of wheelchair accessible van providers – serving the disabled community with wheelchair accessible minivans, full-size vans with lifts and commercial fleet vehicles. Thousands of individuals and business clients each year are impacted by the products and services they provide. MobilityWorks currently has showrooms in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

 


Submitted by: Micah / Ability Voice Blogger
Category: About Our Dealers
Published: Mar 06, 2014
Dance overcomes DisabilityFeb 28, 2014
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In December, we featured a young man by the man of Jeremy Watts. He is known in the Louisville, KY, area for his awesome dance moves and his custom power chair. However, he is not the only one dancing on wheels, and the world of dancing from a wheelchair is bigger than you might think.

Wheelchair dancing, offered by hundreds of wheelchair sports organizations, many special schools, dancing clubs and associations across the world. These locations offer experiences ranging from lessons in dance, with both other wheelchairs and with a wheelchair and someone on foot, to free dancing and even dance teams and competitions.

Photo Courtesy of AbilityExpo

Photo Courtesy of AbilityExpo

DanceAbility International is an organization devoted to getting wheels moving. Based out of Eugene, Oregon, the DanceAbility team has dance efforts in place not only in the United States, but Mongolia, Indonesia, Austria, and more. Their website has a listing of all of their locations and current programs. To find a site near you, check out their website here. The Site is also home to some great information on getting started.

Interested in seeing a dance team in action? AXIS Dance Company a world acclaimed group of performers with awards like One of five named ‘Best Dance Companies in San Francisco Bay Area' by CBS San Francisco. AXIS is not only about performance, but also about getting you moving. AXIS has classes specifically for adults and classes for kids as well. To see AXIS doing their stuff, check out this clip of them performing on ‘So You Think You Can Dance’.

So what are you waiting for? These are only a few examples of the many different options and outlets out there. The only true limit is your creativity.


Submitted by: Micah / Ability Voice Blogger
Category: Customer Stories
Published: Feb 28, 2014
How Do You Share a Perspective That You Don"t Have?Feb 17, 2014
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I don’t use a wheelchair. I don’t have crutches. I don’t need a wheelchair accessible vehicle to get from home to work and out and about. For all intents and purposes, maybe I don’t get it after all. I love my job at BraunAbility and I am proud of the work I get to do every day. I know I get to make a difference. Once in a while, I get to work alongside true advocates for change and equality for people living with mobility issues, and I get it and know all of the facts. I don’t live it every day though.

On occasion, I get the question of what I write about and what work I do, and I explain the good things we do and the works of people whose stories I write, but sometimes I am just met with nods as if I had said that I flip burgers. Please, no offense to those who flip burgers for an occupation, I did that for a while myself. Chalk some of it up to natural human distractions, but some of it I think it is because I don’t live the life that I help promote.

Micah Christensen, blogger, writer, and hopeful advocate

Micah Christensen, blogger, writer, and hopeful advocate

How do I push for a better ramp system when I’ve never had to use a ramp system myself? Truth be told, I am not sure I have an answer.

But for every blank stare I have received, for every person who has looked at my functioning legs and wrote me off, I have had a thank you from another. A letter of thanks from someone whose story I shared. A smile from someone with a cane who was finally noticed for them and not their injury. And maybe, this is what it means to advocate in the end.

So I will go out and keep trying. I will do what I can by telling stories of people doing amazing things, and spreading the news of the ongoing work of groups and individuals I cross paths with. I will even keep talking to my friends about it. The way I see it, every smile of understanding I get should be worth all of the blank stares.

To everyone reading this who is living life from the perspective of a wheelchair, I am sorry. I may never truly see eye to eye with you. I try, yet it is not enough. I can’t always make others see you for more than your wheelchair, but I am trying, and I hope that is enough.


Submitted by: Micah / Ability Voice Blogger
Category: Uncategorized
Published: Feb 17, 2014

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