The Roll on Capitol Hill: An Adventure of a Life Time

By Kara Aiello
Kara Aiello, Ready to Roll on Capitol Hill

What an amazing time I had with the Roll on Capitol Hill 2015 in Washington DC in early June. Coming to this event I had no idea what to expect and have not done advocacy work from a political stand point so this was an eye opening experience.  I remember the daunting feeling I had on day one when I sat with my fellow advocates going through the important topics of discussion that would be shared and advocated the following day on The Hill. Issues of Complex Rehab Technology and Equal Access to Transportation were the main hot spots of discussion along with not cutting Medicaid Funding to help keep people at home and not in nursing homes. As the day came to an end, I found myself overwhelmed with the load of information but determined to bring it to life the next day when meeting with my representatives. 

It was a fascinating experience going to the Capital. We saw many groups from dietitians advocating for better health and nutrition for the American public and family members from California advocating for affordable housing regarding adults with intellectual disabilities. And then there was us, the United Spinal Association from many corners of the U.S. life experiences and disabilities (and without as well) uniting in a common desire to have our voices heard, that we matter, and can impact our world for the better if given that important chance.   

Small Business Grant Available to mobileEntrepreneurs!

by Rich McIver

Did you know that half of all US private-sector workers and 70% of all new jobs are generated by small businesses? Yet despite our nation's collective concern about unemployment and the decline of the middle class, we as a nation have very few channels through which individuals can obtain funding for their business.  And those channels that do exist; banking, grants, angel funding and private equity communities, consistently underfund startups by individuals with disabilities.

To help address that disparity, Merchant Negotiators ( has created an annual Small Business Grant, which offers $2,500 to deserving entrepreneurs from underrepresented entrepreneurial communities, is particularly needed.

We are Fortunate

by Katie Rodriguez Banister
I hope you realize how lucky you are to be alive, here and now.  You should value every experience regardless of your situation. Everything is a learning opportunity; both perceived good and bad or light and dark.  My friend Blindcat, yes he is, and I wrote “Lucky Soul,” to help others appreciate the present because yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn’t happened yet. 

Many of us fluctuate between depression and anxiety.  I was diagnosed with depression about a month and a half post injury.  I was often so sad I couldn’t sleep.  But with the help of my psycho-therapist and a medicine that allows me to sleep, the old Katie came back and I haven’t stopped since.  The past has no power over me.  Yes, I lament my losses from time to time but I can pull myself out of it much easier now.

Anxiety can be just as debilitating.  I know a young woman who has problems leaving her home and making new friends.  She’s often more paralyzed than I am.

I want you to be aware of the following. If you can read this it means you are alive and can breathe, that you have access to a computer or phone, you have experienced some form education, and if you’re like me you have survived an accident or health challenge that you continue to strive to overcome.