Resolve to Live Vibrantly in 2012

by Amy Saffell

2011 has come to a close, and we’re ushering in a new year.  For many, the end of holiday celebrations signals a time for reflection. Most of us realize we still have room to grow into who we want to be, and that means it’s time to make some new year’s resolutions. We make resolutions because we realize that, no matter how great the previous year has been, the new year can be even better. If you’re on the fence about new year’s resolutions, let’s look at how you might make (and keep!) one!

Bringing the Extraordinary into 2012

by Camile Araujo

As the year ends, I am delighted to say that 2011 was a pleasantly surprising year for me.  I took on the role of mother, and I also put on the hat of “writer.” As long as I can remember and discovered that books were written by actual people, I knew I wanted to tell stories. I wanted to write. Then, as I grew older and my grandparents introduced me to classics such as "The Wizard of Oz," "The Sound of Music," "Gone with the Wind," "Singing in the Rain," "Mary Poppins," I discovered I had a yearning to write and one day direct a movie. 

Congratulations to Alana Wallace, mobileWOMEN's First-ever Photo Contest Winner

mobileWOMEN is proud to announce Alana Wallace as the winner of our first-ever photo contest! After carefully going through all our photo entries and their accompanying written submissions, we chose Alana as our "Ultimate mobileWOMAN"! 

As the contest winner, Alana will receive a $50 gift card, an official coffee mug, and a Chair Flair cover, a fashionable accessory that turns ordinary wheelchairs into extraordinary wheelchairs. 

More than Fifty Years Later, Quadriplegic Deauville Continues to Beat the Odds

Lani Deauville
When 17-year Lani Deauville dove from a seawall on a Jacksonville, Florida, beach in 1958, it didn't seem particularly risky. After all, the athletic champion diver was used to diving from bridges, racing cars at high speeds and generally, as Deauville remembers, "performing any scary activity I could think of." With this particular dive into shallow water, however, Deauville slammed hard into the ocean floor, breaking the fourth, fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae in her neck.

Deauville was paralyzed from the neck down. "If you broke your neck in the 1950s," explains Deauville, "you died. If you survived the initial injury, the life expectancy of a quadriplegic back then was five years." Quadriplegics typically have to battle of variety of health complications, including urinary tract infections, pneumonia, central nervous-system infections, gastrointestinal ulcerations, osteoporosis and bowel blockages.

Deauville refused to accept her fate. She changed from a neurosurgeon to an orthopedic surgeon when the neurosurgeon wouldn't recommend surgery to stabilize her neck, because he thought her case was hopeless. After getting neck-stabilization surgery and spending a year and a half in the hospital fighting skin ulcers, spasms and infections, Deauville became the first quadriplegic patient of the State of Florida's Vocational Rehabilitation Agency.

The “Original” Roller Girl

by Tammy Wilber
AKA “Hot Wheels, # T-5/6”

When most people think of Roller Derby, the Drew Barrymore movie “Whip It” usually comes to mind. But not everyone has the opportunity to watch Roller Derby live. Fortunately though, the sport is rapidly increasing in popularity across the nation.

I didn’t have any exposure to Roller Derby until 2006, when one of my co-workers invited me to watch her. At the time I was Ms. Wheelchair Washington and was looking for some interesting and different ways I could break down the stereotypes of people with disabilities. Watching Roller Derby on that day, I became inspired to get involved. Roller Derby is not a wheelchair sport, but watching these women on skates speed around the track, I knew that I belonged in this arena somehow. I loved the fact that it was a women-dominated sport, but I wondered what role I could possibly play. After some brainstorming, the idea came up for me to be the flag bearer during the National Anthem. As long as I didn’t have to sing, I was up for the part. Once I was flag bearer for the first time, I was hooked! 

Enter our First Ever mobileWOMEN Photo Contest

mobileWOMEN, it is time for our first-ever photo contest. We want you to look through your photos or think of taking a new one the depicts "The Ultimate mobileWOMAN." Along with your photo, you'll need to write a paragraph of approximately 150 words or more explaining how this photo in fact highlights "The Ultimate mobileWOMAN." Remember, being a mobileWOMAN encompasses so much and doesn't solely refer to a woman who's physically active; therefore, remember to think outside the box and show us what makes you a reflection of the community we represent!

IMPORTANT:  To be eligible to win, contestants must be registered in the Community Forum. If you are not yet signed up, it is free and only takes a couple of minutes. Visit to join our Community. If you have any problems doing so, please email

We will judge each photo on the following criteria:

Relevance to category- Does the photo illustrate a mobileWOMAN?
Creativity- Does the photo have a unique quality, without being the standard posed shot?
Technical quality- Photo is clear, unblurred, no distraction from the subjects.
Overall impression- How does the photo impact us?
The winner of "The Ultimate mobileWOMAN" contest will receive a $50 gift card, an official coffee mug, and a Chair Flair cover, a fashionable accessory that turns ordinary wheelchairs into extraordinary wheelchairs. Thank you Chair Flair for generously donating to our contest. Please visit for more information on these stylish covers.

It's time to show us your winning photo! Deadline for entry is Sunday, November 20. Email photo entries in .jpg or .tif format to will contact the winner via e-mail by Friday, November 25, 2011.

Ask mobileWOMEN's Financial Advisor--Health Insurance and Pre-Existing Conditions

by Matthew McManus

Dear Matthew,

For those of us with physical disabilities who need health insurance to cover our pre-existing conditions but are not working, what do you suggest?

Jen from Florida

Dear Jen,

Thanks for your email. I completely understand your concerns regarding obtaining medical insurance if you have disability. It’s a tough hurdle to overcome but hopefully this information will point you in the right direction. 

Introducing Matthew McManus, mobileWOMEN's New Financial Advisor

    • Matthew McManus

      Finances are a key component in all our lives. Whether we're struggling to make ends meet, figuring out how to make the most of the money we do have, or are deciding how best to invest, finances require attention and knowledge. Those of us dealing with physical challenges have the added burden of medical expenses, many of which require out-of-pocket payment and bills that seem to never end. Due to an influx of questions and concerns from mobileWOMEN readers, regarding all matters financial, we decided to bring on board Matthew McManus as our Financial Advisor. He will write periodic articles, sharing his wisdom and insight, and will answer your specific questions in his columns.

Wilderness Vacations: They’re for People Who Roll, Too!

by Amy Saffell
While I certainly can’t claim to be a world traveler, family vacations are an important part of my summer. My parents and I have taken yearly vacations nearly every year for as long as I can remember, often to big cities that offer options in accessibility. Even with beach wheelchairs available, I’ve never really liked the effort that beach vacations require, as well as the feeling of not being able to move easily in the sand. I do, however, enjoy the outdoors in ways that are easier for me to manage. 

At least once a year, my parents and I brainstorm where we’d like to go on our next vacation. When we were thinking through where we wanted to go this year, my mom was the first one to suggest The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Family friends of ours with a daughter also in a chair went there several years ago, so we knew that though accessibility would take some research, it was possible. I was ready and excited for the adventure.  
Grand Teton sits behind Jenny Lake

If You’re Going to Stare, Please Educate Yourself!

by Camile Araujo

As I read fellow contributor Jenny Addis’ most recent article ‘It’s Not Polite to Stare,’ I couldn’t agree more with what she expressed. Unfortunately, even in the 21st century and in a first -world civilization, we still encounter people who haven’t yet learned about proper etiquette when dealing with people who are slightly different than they may appear on the outside. I still consider myself a “rookie” wheelchair user, and although I live my life pretty much the way I did before, I notice the stares. In the beginning, I felt my own insecurities dictating the reason for the stares. Now, however, I agree with Cheryl Price’s comment; I pretend I’m a celebrity and take it all in. I make up my own reasons why they must be staring. As a result, I’m no longer phased by what used to feel like an invasion.

It's Not Polite to Stare!

by Jenny Addis

Hey Jen!

Yesterday I went shopping at the mall and it felt like everyone was staring at me as if I was some sort of attraction or alien! I was wondering if others respond to you that way as well. Do you feel like everyone is staring at you when you are trying to enjoy the same experiences and activities as every other person in society? I have been injured since January 15, 2011. Am I being oversensitive since being a paraplegic is new to me? What is wrong with people? Is this what I have to look forward to? I feel frustrated, alone and alienated from the rest of the world! 

A Rolling Bride: Part I

by Tammy Wilber
Tammy in her Abilities Expo 2009 fashion show
wedding gown, when Cameron first saw his future bride!

As a little girl, I dreamed about what my wedding day would be like. Who will be my Prince Charming and will I live happily ever after? The answer is this: I do have a fairytale ending, but the story turned out much differently than I expected. The introduction to my story starts like this:

“In a kingdom far, far away lives a 35-year-old princess named Tammy. She is going to be a bride for the first time. She never imagined that, on her wedding day, instead of walking down the aisle next to her father, she would be she would be rolling down the aisle in her wheelchair.”

Yoga Nidra: Yoga Accessible to All

by Camile Araujo

Before becoming a T-4 complete para, I was an avid long-distance runner. Running was not only a daily must for me, but it was when I spent time with my inner self. After my paralysis, however, it became a challenge to have alone time. In the beginning, I was faced with numerous complications that accompanied my spinal cord injury. It wasn’t long before I was emotionally and mentally drained. I needed 24-hour care to deal with the complications and could not find a way to disconnect from the world and connect within. For two years, I dealt with the physical, as well as mental, challenges. 

I researched relentlessly how to again have some "me" time, while practicing some type of exercise/meditation and achieving the same results running provided. In 2009, I found my solution. I wanted to try yoga, but knew that I could not adapt myself to traditional yoga classes; so instead I needed to find a different form of it to bring my mind to peace. I searched for private, flexible instructors, who would be willing to work with someone in a wheelchair with limited mobility. Many people were not too comfortable with the idea. Perhaps they felt as if the responsibility was too great. I also had no luck finding an inexpensive private instructor. I was determined to find anything that resembled a yoga practice and that worked the mind as well--especially the mind. Unexpectedly, one day, I came across a CD online.

mobileWOMEN Introduces our Newest Contributor, Camile Araujo

Camile Araujo
One week after her 30th birthday, Camile was involved in a work-related car accident that has changed her life forever. At the time, Camile worked as a police officer for the Miami Dade Police Department.  She had ahead of her a promising future within the department and all her dreams were based upon her career. Camile’s accident left her a T-4 paraplegic and rendered her numerous complications which she took over two years to overcome. What was most traumatic to Camile about the whole experience was that, during her in-patient rehabilitation months, the physical therapists told her that she could no longer wear skirts, sandals, tight jeans or certain types of shirts. Camile’s spirits were devastated because not only she had to deal with the physical aspect of the spinal cord injury, but she felt as if the injury had also stolen her identity as a feminine woman. 

“Collision - the Movie” Breaks Barriers and Shatters Perceptions

Teal Sherer in "Collision - The Movie"

by Cheryl Price

Audiences loved it when Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz teamed up in the “Charlie’s Angels” movies. Uma Therman instilled fear in “Kill Bill,” and Linda Hamilton took no prisoners in “Terminator.” Well make some room, ladies, because two new action stars are making their way into the spotlight. Actresses Tiffany Giddes and Teal Sherer know how to throw a punch, lock you in a chokehold and knock you to your knees. You’ll be so busy watching their intense moves on-screen that, chances are, you won’t notice their wheelchairs.

When Tiffany Giddes had the idea to make a film, her original goal was to highlight the strength and power of women in wheelchairs. She thought to make a film that breaks stigmas and barriers that society has put on people with disabilities. So Tiffany contacted Alexis Ostrander, Teal Sherer and Katherine Beattie to join the project. They set out to create a fun, humorous, empowering product that would give everyone involved in the production an opportunity to showcase their strengths. Katherine was given an outline to work from, and after sitting down for a story meeting with Tiffany and Alexis, they decided the main objective would be to create a real, honest, relatable story in a fantastic setting. Since then, the team has started to assemble an amazing and talented crew and are in the beginning stages of pre-production and fundraising.

Get Out There!

By John Caden-Accessibility Specialist, SR Smith

In the early 1990ʼs, Marilyn Hamilton introduced a marketing campaign for her Quickie wheelchair company extorting her customers to Get Out There! Patterned on Nikeʼs successful Just Do It campaign, Marilynʼs goal was to get more people inspired to get out of their houses and to participate in mainstream society.

The timing for this campaign couldnʼt have been better. It came on the heels of the 1990 signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 1991 release of the first set of barrier removal regulations for public accommodations. As these regulations took effect, they resulted in curb cuts, accessible parking spaces, ramps, wider doorways, and accessible toilets. Because of these regulations, getting out there became much easier for millions of people with disabilities.

Fast forward to 2010.

Last July, the Department of Justice launched an update of the ADA law that encompassed many areas that were not addressed in the original legislation. This revision went into effect on March 15 of this year and compliance with the new regulations will be expected by March 15, 2012.

This means that within the next 12 months, businesses in the United States will be spending billions, thatʼs billions with a “B”, of dollars to provide additional accessible opportunities for people with disabilities.

“Hey Jen!”--Age Appropriate…Or Not?

by Jenny Addis

Courtney (MW reader) asks…

Hey Jen! I grew up with a disabled father who was in a wheelchair my entire life. As a result I have always felt strongly about teaching my children that just because someone is using special equipment to help them get around, such as a wheelchair, they are no different than anyone else.

What is the appropriate age to begin discussing with your children the physical and mental differences amongst individuals?

Sexy, New Film "Musical Chairs" Set in Competitive World of Ballroom Wheelchair Dancing

"Musical Chairs," a sexy, pulse-pounding romance directed by Susan Seidelman, set in the scintillating, competitive world of ballroom wheelchair dancing, is now in production shooting on locations throughout the  New York City metropolitan area.   

Sophie Morgan's Mannequal®: A Revolution in the Fashion Industry

by Cheryl Price
Sophie Morgan
Do you ever find yourself strolling through a shopping mall, looking in each store window to see which clothes you can visualize yourself wearing? But that shimmering black gown or skinny jeans paired with flowing top may not look the same on those of us who use wheelchairs. It’s time we see a clearer reflection of ourselves in those windows, don’t you think?

UK model and artist Sophie Morgan surely agrees, as she developed the brilliant Mannequal®, (a combination of the words ‘mannequin’ and ‘equal’): a non-moving fiberglass model of a wheelchair that any male or female mannequin can sit in, which can slot into any in-store or window display and can also be used online.. This revolutionary product is the first of its kind, and helps to call an end to disability discrimination. Ms. Morgan explains, “All disabled people shop, so we should be represented in the stores we shop in, simple as that!” Using the Mannequal® to display an item of clothing in a seated position will help the customer make a more informed decision on how clothing will appear.

A Personal Perspective from mobileWOMEN's Newest Contributor

How it All Comes Full Circle

by Stacy Kaye

On the way home from a career networking luncheon earlier this week, I began to think about the personal importance of belonging to organizations and associations with a shared identity. Certainly the older I get, the more I value the insights, connections, and relationships I’ve gained from my academic, career, social, and religious affiliations.

Of course then, there is the precarious distinction of belonging to a group that its hard for me to believe I once knew little to nothing about, never applied to be part of, and didn’t receive an invitation from before being indoctrinated.

“Hey Jen!”--S-T-R-E-S-S Stresses Me Out!

by Jenny Addis

MW reader asks...Hey Jen! How do you manage stress?

Stress! Just thinking about the word stresses me out! Where do I begin? The typical, everyday stresses we all face, such as work, school, bills, children...the list can go on and on. I'd like to say that my life is stress-free--that I handle it with grace, patience and don't let anything stress me out--but that would completely untrue!

One thing I've learned through my adversity is that everything is a million times harder when you are missing your health in the equation. Like a good majority of MW readers, I'm living life confined to a wheelchair, as a quadriplegic. I had no idea what others in this capacity went through until adversity hit me. I went from being a completely independent woman to a woman completely dependent on others, in every aspect of my life, all in just the blink of an eye. I thought I knew what adversity meant, but I really had no idea until I was facing it head on.

Stacy Kaye -'s Newest Contributor!

Stacy Kaye Joins

Stacy  Kaye formally joins as a contributing writer and media advisor after working as a consultant.

A former television reporter and for  CBS and NBC Affiliates, Stacy has recently relocated to Washington, DC, with the goal of ensuring women, particularly those with a disability, are part of the political process. To that end, Stacy is working with the newly formed Disability Power & Pride PAC. (This is an independent organization that does not support any party, rather individual candidates that show leadership in the area of disability rights.)

For more than a decade Stacy has actively fund raised for medical charities focusing on neurological injuries and disorders. Foremost on that list is The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, where she previously served on the Board of Directors for its New York City Chapter.

A freelance journalist for both local and national media, Stacy holds an MSJ from the Medill School of Journalism,  Northwestern University, a Certificate in Comparative Culture from the Univ of London, UK, and a BA  from the University of Rochester, NY. Stacy was the first journalist to graduate from the Citizen's Police Academy in Beckley, WV, while at the local NBC Affiliate.

Stacy sky diving!
In February 2011 she was recognized by Shape Magazine as a 'Body Image Role Model.' Under the leadership of noted rehab physician William Gibbs, Stacy had helped newly practicing physicians understand some of the concerns and questions of newly injured patients.

In April 2000, while working as an on-air reporter for an NBC affiliate, Stacy was in a news vehicle that went out of control, flipped several times and caught fire. As a result, she is a paraplegic due to a spinal cord injury. An initial 18-hour surgery saved her life. In her free time Stacy stays healthy with Pilates, KAFO training, charity relay races, and most recently started sky diving.

Wendy Crawford, founder and managing editor of shares "We are ecstatic to have Stacy join our team. She is a tremendous asset and exemplifies the mobileWOMEN spirit!"

Wheelchair Lacrosse Emerges as a New Action-packed Team Sport

by Sharon Kelleher

Sharon Kelleher in action playing lacrosse!

I have a new passion in my life: wheelchair lacrosse. This exciting sport was created two years ago by Ryan Baker and Bill Lundstrom in San Diego. I had a chance to try it last spring and was hooked. Wheelchair lacrosse is a fast-paced game of skill, speed, and finesse. The wheelchair sport is very similar to the game of lacrosse played on two feet, however it takes place on a roller hockey rink instead of a grassy field. There are 7 players on the court at one time: 2 Attack, 2 Midis, 2 Defensemen and a Goalie. Players pass around a hard rubber ball using sticks with nets attached to one end. They attempt to shoot the ball into the net, scoring a goal and one point for their team.

If you have never seen this game, you are missing some thrilling action. Very popular on the East Coast, lacrosse is gaining momentum in the West, and many youth are now playing it in local leagues. In fact, one of these youth, a superstar 13-year-old player named Byron, is a volunteer coach of the Northern California team. Our other talented and knowledgeable coach is Susie, president of the Women’s Lacrosse Team at San José State University. Our dedicated coaches are helping us to get ready for a big showdown against San Diego’s inaugural team this summer. We happen to have the nation’s second wheelchair lacrosse team here in Northern California. Our team is co-ed and welcomes players of all ages, from 12 years old to 50-plus.
San Jose's Lacrosse Team
I have played wheelchair tennis for over twenty years, and although I love tennis, I just can’t get enough lacrosse. I enjoy the team camaraderie, the physical nature of the sport (checking is allowed in wheelchair lacrosse), and wearing all the gear makes me feel like a warrior. While we play, we wear helmets, chest and elbow pads, gloves and kneepads. This gear protects us from other players’ sticks, as well as from the ball. It was a little hard to get used to pushing my sports chair with all the gear on, but now I am starting to appreciate the protection, and I’m getting slightly faster on the court. Feeling invincible inspires me to be more aggressive during our team scrimmages, which makes playing even more exciting.

ABC’s “What Would You Do?” Brings Disability-related Issues to Primetime--Tuesday, February 22!

by Amy Saffell

We’ve all dealt with people who struggle to see past our disabilities to the true core of who we are:  our capabilities, our ambitions, and our passions. Sometimes when I’m being treated with a lack of understanding and respect, I retreat from the situation as quickly as possible, but I often wonder if those people ever do come around in their thinking or if possibly a lack of people with disabilities in their lives leads to continued ignorance. After all, these kinds of lessons are usually learned from a personal connection with someone, not from far-reaching media stories...until now

ABC’s show “What Would You Do?” puts actors in morally compromising or discriminatory situations and shows if the public around them comes to the aid of those in the situation. Hosted by ABC News veteran John Quinones, the show sheds light on many of modern society’s injustices. When they hosted a contest to find a new scenario to film, I jumped at the chance to tell them about experiences that I’ve had relating to my disability. As time went by, I honestly forgot all about it, so imagine my surprise several months later when someone from the show called to tell me that I had been selected out of 12,000 applicants to fly to New York for the taping of the show. I was so excited that not only would I be going to get to experience the lights, the shows, and, of course, the shopping in New York, but also, and most importantly, that viewers would get the chance to hear my story.

You’ll have to watch on Tuesday night, February 22 to see how it pans out, but I was so grateful to the producers for taking such care in making sure that these issues were handled with accuracy and respect. Everyone took a genuine interest in making this episode a success, and it was an honor to be involved, to meet everyone, and to see how the production entailed. It truly was an experience of a lifetime that I’ll never forget. I hope that, because of this show, we all have a little easier time with those who don’t truly know us for who we are.        

Stacy Kaye Named 2011 Role Model in SHAPE Magazine

We are pleased to announce that Stacy Kaye, a mobileWOMEN media 
consultant and upcoming contributor, has been named a 2011 Role 
Model in SHAPE Magazine (February 2011 edition, on newsstands now).

Stacy was injured in April 2000 while working as an on-air reporter for an
NBC affiliate covering West Virginia and Virginia.

Coming soon: mobileWOMEN's personal interview with Stacy!

“Hey Jen!”--Truth versus Stereotype

Jennifer Addis, mobileWOMEN's new "Hey Jen!" columnist
by Jenny Addis
This week I'd like to introduce a topic that most people have had experience with at some point: truth versus stereotype. Whether it's regard to weight issues, age, race, sexuality differences or a disability, many of us face stereotypes and misperceptions on a daily basis.

My boyfriend, Paul, works for a seating and mobility company. Like other couples, at the end of each day he and I talk about what took place, good or bad. Paul often has an inspiring and interesting story to share. He never pries into his clients’ personal lives, but since his personality makes others extremely comfortable with him, they open up easily, which is where my idea for this week’s entry originated. On this particular day, Paul could not wait to share a story with me about his client, who we'll call “Bob.” As Paul was working on Bob's wheelchair that day, Bob decided to share a few words of his own personal wisdom.

"You know, Paul, people in wheelchairs are BETTER people than able-bodied individuals."

Grammy Award-winning Songwriter Teams Up with NJ Advocate to Raise Funds for Arthritis Research

Kelly Rouba and Paul Williams (front) and his wife Mariana Williams (back)

The Arthritis National Research Foundation recently invited Kelly Rouba, a Mercer County, New Jersey native, to speak about living with arthritis at a special fundraiser with Paul Williams in Orange County, CA. Williams is an Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe-winning Hall of Fame songwriter, as well as President and Chairman of the Board of The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).

Williams’ songs have been recorded by many musical icons, including Elvis Presley, The Carpenters, Frank Sinatra, and Willie Nelson. He is known for writing the theme to TV’s “The Love Boat” and many other songs, including “We’ve Only Just Begun” and “Just An Old Fashioned Love Song.” Moreover, his songs “The Rainbow Connection,” from the children’s classic The Muppet Movie, and “Evergreen” from A Star is Born grace the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 movie songs of all time.

Fighting Temptation

by Cheryl Price

Whether it’s chocolate truffles, soda, ice cream or candy bars, many of us have a food-related vice. There are certain times when these delicious yet unhealthy items call our names more than others, however, we must resist the urge! But after a bad day or perhaps while on a vacation, what can we do to fight temptation?

I feel strong and proud after pushing up a steep San Francisco hill
It may not be easy, but I assure you that it is possible to make the right choice. On most days, I am able to either distract my mind or blatantly ignore the image of chocolate that finds its way into my mind’s eye. Remember, being able to say no to unhealthy food choices is critically important, as “epidemiologic studies have shown that people with physical disabilities have a 1.2- to 3.9-fold increase in obesity prevalence.” (  - New York Obesity Research Center, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, Institute of Human Nutrition, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University)

Here are a few techniques that work for me when I am trying to stay on the right track:

Exercise over Excess

Every now and then, I want nothing more than a piece of chocolate or one cookie. Sure, “everything in moderation” is a pretty sound philosophy, but I find that being able to say “no” to that food item completely makes me feel empowered and the healthiest version of myself. Therefore, when these moments come about, one thing that works for me is exercise. Since the desire for sweets usually happens at night, I’m typically able to do a significant chunk of time on my favorite exercise machine that I fortunately have at home, the VitaGlide. The VitaGlide is a cardio machine geared toward wheelchair-users and I happen to be hooked! (VitaGlide video: Once I get going on the VitaGlide, I forget about the sweet temptation and get caught up in my workout. Then when I’m done, I feel so proud of my accomplishment!

To Give is to Receive

By Lori A. Wood

For people with disabilities, finding a job is hard enough. Finding one that we actually like can prove to be much more difficult, and often, sadly, this requirement must take a backseat to more pressing financial considerations, such as attendant or child care. Rest assured, mobileWOMEN, all is not lost! 
This mobileWOMAN  who, with great ambition, courage and determination, shows us that disability doesn't necessarily render these facets of employment mutually exclusive. Through volunteerism, this woman has found her calling, demonstrating that, when we do our part to help others, we reap some of life’s greatest rewards.

To Give is to Receive

“I think volunteering is a perfect way to get into a job or career,” explains Jenny Smith, Member Care Coordinator of an international non-profit organization in Louisville, Kentucky. “I've held numerous volunteer positions, many of which led to discoveries of what I really enjoy doing. Volunteering can go on a resume just as well as a part-time job, and many times with volunteering, you don't have the responsibility that you do in a paid position. For example, if you need to go out of town, you have a bit more flexibility in scheduling your time.”

“I’d been a gymnast since I was about three years old. When I was sixteen, I was outside tumbling, and the grass was wet, so my feet slipped out from underneath me.” This left her a C6-7 complete quadriplegic. Bit by bit she has become more independent; she now lives on her own and has help three mornings a week with personal care.
“In 1998, I got to know some people from Poland, and I was asking them about accessibility in other countries, and how they go to school and work if places aren’t accessible. They said that people don’t even have wheelchairs, and that just floored me. I’d never heard that before,” she says. ”I was in graduate school at the time, and really didn’t have time to add anything else to my schedule.” A graduate of the University of Louisville, Jenny earned an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology in December 1998. “Volunteering at the Crisis and Information Center in Louisville led to my Master's in Counseling Psychology. Volunteering with the adult education English as a Second Language program led to a paid position teaching Kindergarten through fifth graders for a year, while preparing me to work cross-culturally.”

“In 1999, someone from Louisville was going to Afghanistan as a volunteer with a non-profit organization to distribute wheelchairs. I didn’t know him at all, but I called him up and said, ‘I heard that you’re doing this, and I’d really like more information and to get involved.’ Then the vice-president of the organization called me and asked if I wanted to go on a trip with them. I honestly didn’t think I could travel internationally, but six months later, I was in Mexico for the first time.

Making a Splash

by Ileana Rodriguez
Ileana Rodriguez

Looking back, I can’t think of a time when swimming was not a part of my life. In 1985, I was born in Matanzas, Cuba, a beautiful small town. Living on the coast, the sea was a main source of recreation and enjoyment for locals, and as a result, learning to swim at a young age was critical for safety reasons. 

My parents taught us to swim for this same reason but also because they felt swimming was a valuable extracurricular activity. At around 6 or 7 I realized how much I enjoyed being in the water. At the same time, I was introduced to the Olympics and the actual sport of swimming. I trained for two years but then found myself overwhelmed by swimming and training so hard at such early age; I was ready to try something new--ballet. I danced for three years under the strict regime of the Cuban ballet school. During the third year, my body was not reacting normally to my training. I started to lose strength in my left leg. As a result, it was very difficult to use points and perform away from the dance bar. I had to seek medical attention and, as a result, learned that a disease known as Arterial Venus Malformation (AVM) was developing inside my body.

"Hey Jen!"--When is Enough...Enough?

by Jenny Addis
"Hey Jen!" columnist Jenny Addis
Megan writes:
Hey Jen…How do you pick up and move on after getting out of an abusive relationship? Where do I start?

Hey Megan!
Thank you for having the courage to go outside your comfort zone and ask for help, because that’s a starting point. By posting this question for mobileWOMEN, you are allowing other young women in similar situations to learn from this question and my experience. 

I’d like to start off by answering the second portion of your question: "Where do I start?" Well, guess what? You did--the moment you hit that send key on your computer and asked for help. Lately I have been speaking a lot on the topic of unhealthy, abusive relationships, domestic abuse, and intimate partner violence. No matter what the circumstance, there are no easy answers, but the first step has to be recognizing that you are in an abusive relationship and that you are being mistreated. An abusive relationship can stem from actions such as physical, mental and/or emotional abuse, alcohol and/or drug abuse induced behavior, cheating, any type of destructive behavior that may cause violence, an argument, a break-up, trust issues or jealousy, just to name a few.